The Warriors renew acquaintances on Sunday night with Jarrett Jack, their former backup point guard who played such a vital role during last year’s run to the Western Conference semifinals.
Their reunion with Jack comes on a night in which current backup point guard Toney Douglas will be unavailable. Douglas has food poisoning and is out for Sunday’s 3 p.m. tip against the Cleveland Cavaliers — the first game of a season-long seven-game road trip.
Golden State coach Mark Jackson made it clear before the game just how much Jack’s one season in Oakland meant to him.
“Can’t put it into words,” Jackson said. “He’s an incredible, incredible man. He was a great leader for us.”
Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists per game for the Warriors last year and provided relief for Stephen Curry as a secondary ball-handler. He signed a four-year, $25-million deal to join the Cavaliers in the offseason.
“I’m so happy that he signed a big deal,” Jackson said. “He deserves it. The things that he does on and off the floor, it was a steal of a deal. I’m awfully proud of him and honored to have been his coach.”
Jack, who is averaging 10.0 points and 3.7 assists for the Cavs, spoke in equally glowing terms about his former head coach.
“Before I ever met him, whenever I saw him he was somebody I would go out of my way just to go say hello, just to be in his presence,” Jack said. “I always thought that was an honor in itself, somebody who walked in our shoes and was able to be one of the best point guards ever to do it. Somebody I admired from a distance and just getting to know him on a personal level was something that I’ll always cherish.”
Jack said he’s looking forward to catching up with some of his former teammates and checking in on their families, but tonight will be all business.
“It’s always cool to go against some familiar faces, but it’s still business as usual,” Jack said. “I’m trying to go out here, play 48 minutes and get a ‘W’.”