Shot Chart Studies: Justin Jackson


Today, Keeping It Heel continues its offseason studies of UNC Basketball with a look at the shot charts of Justin Jackson. Also, be sure to check out other Justin Jackson content from the site, including Is J Jax Ready to be UNC’s Star?How J Jax Improved over his Freshman Season and Justin Jackson’s Best Games as a Freshman.

Justin Jackson averaged 10.7 points last season for the North Carolina Tar Heels playing 26.7 minutes per game. The star freshman got off to a bit of a slow start, but he really came on strong in the second half of his freshman season, playing some of his best basketball in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. In fact, Jackson scored over 10 points in 11 of UNC’s final 12 games after scoring over 10 points in just 4 of UNC’s first 10 games (against far inferior comptetition as well).

Jackson developed into a solid all-round shooting threat, posting a 30.4% three-point shooting percentage and a 54.4% mark from two-point range. Jackson’s effective field goal percentage of 52% ranked 21st in the conference, per, one spot behind Jerian Grant of Notre Dame.

Let’s take a look at Justin Jackson’s shot chart to see where his favorite shots on the floor were and how efficient he was at various locations around the floor.

The first thing that stood out was Jackson’s efficiency and volume from behind the arc. I imagined Jackson to be a much better shooter than the shot chart reflects. If I had to guess Jackson’s shot chart, I would have colored in lots of red from the wings, a location which seemed to be Jackson’s favorite and most fruitful. I would have put less usage and more yellow at the top of the key and at the wings.

However, Jackson’s shot chart, at least from behind the arc, is one of an average to below average shooter. He is okay from the wings, shooting at about an average field goal percentage compared to his peers, but certainly not a lights out shooter.

Jackson does become better as he moves closer to the rim. Jackson sprinkled in a lot of usage and importantly, efficiency from around the basket. Also, the impact of his deadly floater can be seen — he is really good from right outside the paint and trickling up to the foul line.

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The question now becomes where Jackson goes from here. I think obviously the first area where Tar Heel fans should see real improvement next season is from beyond the arc. Expect Jackson to be a much better shooter next year and thus more red and yellow hues from the three-point line.

Also expect more usage from Jackson as he grows into a bigger role in the offense. Marcus Paige will be back and healthy, but you can make an argument that this is now Justin Jackson’s team, at least offensively. Expect Jackson to be looking to attack more using the strength that he gained over the summer playing with former NBA players and training under John Lucas. The results will be more dots all throughout the paint and hopefully more red colors corresponding to more makes.


Justin Jackson is super talented offensively, posting solid numbers from his freshman season and earning a place on the ACC’s All-Freshman team. However, as you can see from the shot chart, he still has a lot of room to improve. Look for Jackson to make a huge leap next season, and look for a shot chart that looks completely different than the one from his freshman season as he grows stronger and better.

Shot charts from