John Calipari can add a few more million dollars to his coaching reputation.
The Indiana Pacers announced on Wednesday night that the franchise has officially signed former Kentucky Wildcat, Isaiah Jackson, to a rookie contract. After spending one season in Lexington, Jackson became the 22nd overall pick from July’s 2021 NBA Draft.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Jackson could make between 80-120 percent of the rookie scale, which will likely be in the $2 million-plus per year range. The one-time ‘Cat was initially picked by the Washington Wizards before being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft night, but he was later included in the five-team trade that sent Russell Westbrook to L.A.
— Isaiah Jackson?Black Chaldean????? (@IJackson22) August 12, 2021
Jackson will join a solid frontcourt in Indianapolis, which is anchored by Myles Turner and two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis. It could be difficult early on for a rookie to crack the rotation, but there has long been an expectation from NBA folks that one of the Turner-Sabonis duo (likely Turner) will get traded at some point. That would be the best-case scenario for Jackson, who would then compete for minutes against Goga Bitadze, JaKarr Sampson, and maybe T.J. Warren while playing alongside a playmaking big in Sabonis.
During his one-and-done season at Kentucky, Jackson was named to both the SEC All-Freshman and SEC All-Defensive Teams as a defensive force in the paint for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-10 native of Michigan averaged 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per outing while shooting a team-high 54.0 percent from the field.