A mid-season trade which saw the Hornets acquire Jarrett Jack was seen by many as a lateral move of sorts. Getting a backup point guard was somewhat on the agenda for New Orleans, but as of today it seems more like an unnecessary luxury move. The Hornets do not have a quality starting two-guard, they have no front-line players and no depth along the wing. Yet having Jack on the roster makes things a little better. He showed us that he’s actually capable of playing some shooting guard, and worked very well next to Chris Paul.
Jack’s presence on the team is highly regarded by team-mates, coaches and fans a-like. The progression of his performance since the trade was rather surprising, but we’ll get into that a bit later.
As The Season Goes
When the trade went through, we were all quite disappointed with the lack of production from Jack. But as time went on he gradually worked his way back to his career averages. His turnover rate dropped (it’s actually quite low), assist percentages went up, and his scoring rose.
As the team regressed, Jack came out of his shell. It was noted several times throughout the year that if Jack received 20+ minutes he usually was dynamite.
As we can see from the table above the numbers don’t lie. Ignoring the Per-Game statistics for a moment, every single one of his percentages soars when he receives greater than 20 minutes, the better indicator of how he plays far better when receiving more time. From his time at Portland to right now, every fan, commentator and analysis agrees that Jarrett Jack thrives when given more time on the court.
Numbers aside, Jarrett played very well with Chris Paul throughout the season. The two-guard set was very effective because it allowed Paul to act as a shooter at times, and run a variety of sets, keeping the defense off-balanced. The Hornets top-priority is finding a starting two-guard, but making sure that Jarrett receives 20 or more minutes will be that much more difficult if a Nick Young or J.R. Smith were to be signed.
New Orleans versus Dallas, Jarrett Jack the starting point-guard, Chris Paul suffering a concussion. It’s no doubt in mine, and others minds, that this game was the best of the season for Jarrett Jack. It was really the first time that I realised we had a starting point-guard as a backup.
This was a crucial game of sorts. New Orleans had lost four of their past six and were struggling to put together consistent performances.
From the start Jack and the Hornets struggled as well as Dallas. It was really an ugly first-quarter, no one really wanted to hit a shot. Things turned around for the Mavericks in the second period though, as they ran out to a seven point lead with just over two minutes to go.
In the third quarter things got worse once more. The Hornets starters were 11-of-40 at the 8:37 mark in the third stanza that’s including a perfect day for Carl Landry.
Over the course of the game Jarrett just couldn’t work it, which makes it odd since it was probably his best one. The fourth quarter was where he shinned though. Hitting all of his field goals he also hit clutch free-throws at the line to seal the deal.
His stat-line was 21 points on 19 shots, 7 assists (2 Turnovers) and 6 rebounds.
Back to the Future
The extent to which Jarrett Jack is expendable is open to debate. I believe that moving forward he’s as much on the trade table as any other player. Though keeping him on the roster could and should be the goal of Monty Williams and Dell Demps. Balancing his playing time with a better two-guard and Marco Belinelli will be quite tricky for Williams. It’s known amongst Hornets fans that an upgrade at shooting guard is one of the top priorities, but just how big an upgrade remains to be seen.
Jack has a bright future ahead of him no matter where he is. If Chris Paul were to leave then he’d be an admirable replacement even if we all went into depression and sucked out thumbs till the break of dawn. Hopefully a back-court of Paul-Jack-?-Belinelli can be seen for years to come, though I’m not optimistic.
Final Season Grade: (Measured in Awesome to the Max’s)
Four out of Five.