You can always count on Jarrett Jack for perspective.
Last season in New Orleans, he was the starting point guard and put up career numbers. This season, he’s the back-up point guard who doesn’t know how many minutes he will get each night.
But Wednesday, he proved to be most vital. With Stephen Curry struggling, coach Mark Jackson put Jack in at point guard, moving Curry to shooting guard. Jackson gave the Warriors a steady hand and some defensive acumen.
After logging 30 minutes and serving as a key factor down the stretch, you’d expect him to suggest he should be in line for more minutes. Jack, instead, was happy Jackson believed in him enough to put the ball in his hands.
“This,” Jack said, “This is what I have been waiting for.”
What Jack did show was just how valuable he can be to the Warriors. Certainly, he’s going to back-up Curry, and he does he changes the tone of the game. His gritty, attacking style in and of itself is a change of pace from Curry. But Jack’s presence also gives the Warriors a completely different look to throw out there and a chance to take advantage of Curry’s ability to play shooting guard.
Wednesday, Jackson went with Jack, Curry and Klay Thompson down the stretch, allowing Jack to just play facilitator while maximizing his offensive weapons. And that’s in addition to the leadership he brings to the locker room, the vocal presence he provides in practice, and the example he provides for the young players.
Watch Jack’s minutes tonight. Most important, watch who he comes in for, especially down the stretch. Coming in for rookie Harrison Barnes may not be the best option. Memphis is big and a good rebounding team. Three guards together might be asking too much. I could see Klay Thompson getting squeezed out while Jackson goes with a more defensive SF option. It would seem going small on the wings with Curry and Thompson, AND going small in frontcourt with Landry and Lee, is a recipe to get bullied down the stretch.
More to look out for tonight:
*Jackson said it was difficult to keep a pleading Andrew Bogut on the bench. He said if it was just about him, Bogut would be in the game longer than 20 minutes.
But as it stands, Jackson and the Warriors staff have decided to play it extra cautious. Jackson said he would listen to how Bogut felt, but clearly only to a certain stint. Because tonight against Memphis, the Warriors will need Bogut, probably more than 20 minutes. And they will certainly need him Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, which Jackson said Bogut will not play because they don’t yet want him playing back-to-backs.
Will Bogut press again, especially if Marc Gasol has his way? If so, will Jackson give in? Will he manage Bogut’s minutes differently, so he has time in the fourth quarter?
* Harrison Barnes wasn’t much of a factor against Michael Beasley and the Phoenix Suns. Tonight, however, gets even tougher. He has to defend Rudy Gay, one of the most explosive players in the NBA.
Gotta imagine Jackson will have a quick hook, especially with the way Brandon Rush played last game. You could, however, make the case that leaving him out there will be the bigger help to Barnes.
Watch how Barnes handles tonight. Will reserve all his energy for defending Gay and make sure he’s on top of his assignments? Or, knowing that, will he be more aggressive, try to make an impact against the heralded SF?