Last October, Charles Jenkins built a bond with Tim Pickett in training camp. Their lockers were next to each other. They talked a lot, shared laughs and motivated each other.
Then, one morning, Jenkins arrived at his locker for practice. He was slapped by the reality of the NBA.
“He was gone,” Jenkins said. “His locker was empty and there was another name there. Freaked me out. That just shows you can’t relax. You can’t take your foot off the pedal.”
The acquisition of point guard Jarrett Jack was a loud statement to Jenkins: as much as Warriors management likes him, he’s still got something to prove to them. But Jenkins said he’s been operating that way all along.
Jenkins said he wasn’t shocked by the addition of Jack. Nor does he view it as a bad thing.
“I get to compete against Steph (Curry). I get to compete against Jarrett Jack, who is a proven guard in this league. At the end of the day, that’s going to make me better.”
If it was even possible for him to think he’s arrived (what with head coach Mark Jackson deeming him a seasoned veteran), Jenkins had a few humblers already in place. For starters, his contract for next season is not guaranteed. So he needs to perform to get paid.
Also, even if Jenkins gets paid, it’s for the second-year minimum. He still doesn’t have the security of NBA millions.
Jenkins also has the memories of riding the bench last season. For every impressive outing, there was a game he saw only garbage minutes. He has 28 starts his rookie season, but he also has 15 DNP-CDs.
The Jack trade was just the latest in a series of reminders that Jenkins has work to do.
“I’m going to have to continue trying to outwork everyone,” Jenkins said. “It can be over quick. You can never be satisfied. I don’t have a chill mode.”
Warriors general manager Bob Myers suggested that Jenkins would be the third point guard going into camp. That would seem to spell the end of Nate Robinson’s tenure with Golden State.
Ideally, being the third point guard gives Jenkins more time to develop under less pressure.
“He will still get his opportunities,” Myers said. “We absolutely value him.”
With that said, Jenkins is still under pressure to produce.
The Warriors really like Maalik Wayns out of Villanova. He had a great workout with the Warriors during the draft process and will get a good look from management during summer leaguOf course, needing to prove himself is nothing new to Jenkins.
“I’ve been in this position my whole life.