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Andre Jackson and the Milwaukee Bucks are both proven winners

Jackson brings an interesting dynamic to last year’s top seed in the Eastern Conference.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four National Championship-San Diego State vs UCONN Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

About a month after visiting the White House with his career direction uncertain, UConn’s Andre Jackson is now heading to the NBA. He went early in the second round to a team that’s been winning quite a bit lately in the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks entered Thursday night with pick No. 58 as their only draft asset, but on draft night they decided to send a 2030 second-rounder and cash considerations to Orlando for the rights to Jackson.

The difference between these two franchises is night and day. Orlando is a middling organization that has made the playoffs once in the past decade and also boasts a very crowded backcourt that can’t shoot very well.

Instead, Jackson is heading to a polar opposite situation in Milwaukee, an organization that has constructed one of the best rosters in the league. Calling it a dream scenario might be a stretch, but Jackson is stepping into a franchise with a well-respected front office, a two-time league MVP, and the best record in the NBA last season (58-24).

Additionally, the Bucks are also in serious need of high-level wing defense, which is Jackson’s calling card, and is elite at the one thing he does poorly: shoot the basketball.

Jrue Holiday has been a steady hand at the point offensively and defensively for three years now, but one of the major reasons why the team melted down against the eighth-seeded Heat this past year (other than Giannis going down with an injury) was that they couldn’t stop perimeter scorers, especially Jimmy Butler, who averaged 38 points over the five-game series.

While Jimmy was playing like a man possessed, other Heat perimeter players chipped in big games throughout the series as well. No one on the Bucks seemed up for the task of stopping the Heat from going on a scoring run.

That’s exactly where Jackson can make an impact from Day One. Not only is he a great on-ball defender, but he can utilize his 6-10 wingspan to jump passing lanes and disrupt opposing offenses, while also igniting breaks out of thin air and making the exact type of winning plays that can swing momentum in a heartbeat.

What also bodes well for Jackson is that Milwaukee has plenty of perimeter shooters. The starting five boasts three players that all hit at least 37% from three last season, and that’s not including Khris Middleton who is one of the best mid-range scorers in the game today.

Middleton did just decline his $40M player option, so he will test free agency, but returning to the Bucks is still a possibility. Even if they lose him, Jevon Carter, Pat Connaughton, Joe Ingles, and Bobby Portis all are above-average three-point shooters and are all under contract for next season except for Ingles. 2022 first-round pick MarJon Beauchamp played sporadically last year but should see more opportunities at the three spot, which may cut into Jackson’s projected minutes, but they are vastly different players.

No one in the Bucks’ second unit has the skill set that Jackson brings to the table. From his Olympic-level athleticism to the rebounding on both ends, plus defensive prowess and general feel for the game, he could become a crowd favorite.

It will definitely help that he has arguably the top lob threat on his team. Him running alongside Giannis on the fast break is a horrifying prospect for opposing NBA teams.

The Bucks offense of course runs through Antetokounmpo, who has been a top-five scorer in the NBA for the past six seasons, and is nearly unstoppable when he gets the ball on the block, even when he’s doubled. With Middleton and Ingles potentially gone, the Bucks will be looking to fill that versatile wing role, someone that can both handle the basketball and get it to their superstar in the right spots on the floor. Jackson won’t be able to replicate the shooting ability of those two guys, but as someone who always knows where the ball should go, he may be the perfect man for the job.

Aside from filling a need from an Xs and Os standpoint, Jackson should be a perfect fit culturally as well. Playing alongside one of the most humble and hardworking guys in the league in Giannis, Jackson should immediately gain the favor of his teammates with his unselfish play, winning mentality, and professional demeanor.

The fit on paper is seamless. It’s a team that can mask Jackson’s shooting woes while allowing him to play multiple positions and do what he does best: make everyone around him better.