Ever since point guard Jarrett Jack went down with a shoulder and hip injury against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors have not been able to recover. The team not only lost four straight, but their average margin of defeat has come by 20.7 points. The All-Star break could not come soon enough.
During this grueling road trip, Jack is showing his value just by sitting. Coming off the bench, he is averaging an efficient 12.8 points to go along with 5.8 assists. But as a starter in four games this year, the eighth-year guard raised his game to 18.8 points and 8.3 assists per game. He also sports a player efficiency rating of 17.24, which indicates that he is a performing at a high level. He’d be a starter on a good handful of NBA teams.
Despite being the backup to Stephen Curry, Jack plays in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and is a stabilizing force in the offense. He routinely gets his teammates in position to score while being a perimeter threat. With head coach Mark Jackson having to turn to rookie Kent Bazemore and second-year guard Charles Jenkins, they simply don’t have the experience that Jack possesses. The drop off in production was evident in their three-game skid without the veteran.
If Jack continues to excel in a backup role, keeping him in a Golden State uniform will be hard to come by. After this season, he is an unrestricted free agent. There are a number of teams out there that could use a floor general like Jack, and if he can claim a starting role elsewhere while obtaining a long-term contract, the Warriors may end up missing him should they fail to find an adequate replacement.
But with the off-season months away, the Warriors have greater concerns resting in front of them. On Tuesday night, Golden State has to contend with the Rockets, who tied an NBA record with 23 3-pointers made in their last meeting together. After All-Star Weekend, the Warriors will take on the Utah Jazz, who are breathing right down their neck as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
One man does not make a team, but the Warriors sorely miss the intangibles that Jack brings to the table.
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