Michigan State's Jaren Jackson going No. 3 in ESPN mock draft

The Detroit News
Jaren Jackson Jr.

Michigan State freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. is projected to be the No. 3 overall pick, by the Atlanta Hawks, in a new NBA mock draft by ESPN (pay site).

“The youngest prospect in the draft, Jackson may have the highest ceiling of anyone in this class in terms of his ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor,” writes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “It's easy to see Jackson manning the center position for Atlanta or pairing with exciting rookie big man John Collins in an athletic frontcourt.”

Jackson, 18, is averaging 11.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks for the Spartans, who open NCAA Tournament play on Friday against Bucknell at Little Caesars Arena.

ESPN has Jackson teammate Miles Bridges going No. 11 to the Charlotte Hornets.

Givony: “Bridges is a freakish athlete who has struggled at times to make the full-time transition to small forward, but he undoubtedly has potential as a two-way forward who can guard all over the floor and give you enough shooting, ballhandling and passing to get by at one of the most important positions in today's NBA.”

Bridges’ averages this season: a team high 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

The Pistons traded their first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in the deal to acquire Blake Griffin. That pick is protected only if it’s in the top four of the first round.

Givony has the Clippers selecting Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV with the Pistons’ No. 12 pick.

ESPN predicts Michigan’s Moritz Wagner as a second-rounder, No. 48 to the Utah Jazz.

ESPN’s draft order is based on its NBA Basketball Power Index.