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Rick Carlisle: Isaiah Jackson’s defense is ‘absolutely breathtaking’

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Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle this week praised the defensive ability of rookie Isaiah Jackson as a player that can guard every position on the court.

Jackson, who was the 22nd overall pick, entered the NBA draft as perhaps one of the top defensive players in the class. He was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team last season at Kentucky after averaging 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots in 25 games as a freshman.

He led all SEC players in blocked shots while he ranked 15th in the nation.

In addition to controlling the paint, Jackson proved to be a very versatile player on the defensive end of the floor. He often held his own against smaller players, using his athleticism and long length to disrupt passing lanes.

Carlisle described his versatility as breathtaking.

His defensive versatility is absolutely breathtaking. I just have not seen a guy move, block shots, change shots and be able to guard any position the way I’ve seen him be able to do. Offensively, he just has a really terrific feel for the game. If you can get him the ball moving toward the rim, he can finish, he can pass and then he has really worked on his 3-point shooting. That’ll be a big part of his development as a two-position player in this league. He can guard any position on the floor but he also gives us a rim-rolling lob presence that they just have not had on this team.

Given his ability on defense, and an improving offensive game, Jackson could potentially develop into a strong 3-and-D player with the Pacers. He will certainly need some time to reach that level but the Pacers appear to be very happy with his long-term outlook.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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