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Justin Jackson's offense is a good sign. But here's how he can really earn minutes

Kings forward Justin Jackson (25) got off to a hot start hitting shots early in the first quarter as Sacramento hosted the Golden State Warriors in the California Classic summer league game at the Golden 1 Center on July 3, 2018.
Kings forward Justin Jackson (25) got off to a hot start hitting shots early in the first quarter as Sacramento hosted the Golden State Warriors in the California Classic summer league game at the Golden 1 Center on July 3, 2018. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Kings guard De'Aaron Fox sat out Tuesday's California Classic summer league game against the Golden State Warriors, so there were a few more shots to go around.

Justin Jackson benefited in the 71-54 loss to the Warriors at Golden 1 Center, scoring 20 points while taking 11 shots. Fox was sidelined with a sore left Achilles and his status for Thursday's game against the Miami Heat is unknown.

Tuesday was a good sign for Jackson, who attempted just six shots in Monday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers, but he understands he must learn how to stay engaged in games, even when he isn't touching the ball.

That will be important for Jackson in the summer and headed into the regular season if he's to earn consistent playing time.

"I think for me it's trying to be aggressive, trying to stay confident," Jackson said. "Whether they are running plays for me or not, trying to keep that same mindset so that when I get my opportunities that it's the same as if I did get touches before that. So just trying to stay as confident and aggressive as possible."

Staying aggressive will help Jackson avoid repeating Monday's performance. He played 33 minutes, but failed to make the kind of energetic plays to stand out in a game he wasn't scoring. Jackson had five points against the Lakers.

He had more bounce to his game on both ends of the floor Tuesday.

"First game, I wasn't very aggressive," Jackson said. "I didn't go out there confidently knowing that I've worked on a lot of things this summer and every day I try to work on things."

He has worked on his defense, which at times kept him on the floor as a rookie. That will be important in his second season because he's not likely to be a primary option on offense.

The Kings were often too small on the perimeter defensively, and Jackson at 6-foot-8 currently projects as the tallest wing on the roster, making him an ideal candidate to help.

"I think even when it comes to the regular season I think defensively is somewhere where I can find a spot, being that long, active defender," Jackson said. "I think that's something that I can do whether I'm touching the ball or not on offense."

Jackson was active on defense Tuesday and also grabbed five rebounds, another area he said he needs to be better at to warrant more playing time.

"(Jackson is) probably one of the most consistent mental guys that we have for who he is as a person and as a player," said Kings summer league coach Larry Lewis. "He's dedicated himself in a phenomenal way to play both sides of the court, that's what I see."

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