The deadline deal that went down—sending Stephen Jackson from the Golden State Warriors to the San Antonio Spurs—has been a key acquisition. With Manu Ginobili having an injury-plagued season, Jackson provided extra depth at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
While the move was known to be important if they wished to win the championship, few could have predicted the impact Jackson would make for the team.
Known for being a hot-head, many wondered whether Jackson's bad-boy persona would destroy the Spurs' low-key style. He tended to be selfish during the beginning of the season, which he spent in Milwaukee.
These negative attributes masked his true talents and prevented him from reaching his full potential with the Bucks. That attitude, however, proved to be a blessing for San Antonio—and Jackson himself.
Due to his on-court issues, Jackson found himself riding the bench for long periods of time. His attitude also was the key reason for his shifting teams in mid-March.
Any qualms that San Antonio fans had about taking in Jackson and his notorious attitude were quickly put to rest, as Jackson not only left his bad-boy persona in Milwaukee, but used this opportunity as a chance to be a vital contributor on a contending team.
The biggest thing that Jackson brought to the Spurs was, surprisingly, his passing ability. Despite his tendency for chucking up low-quality shots throughout the majority of his career, he soon found himself distributing the ball at a rate which surprised everybody.
Often, he would receive the ball beyond the arc, but instead if forcing a contended three, he made the extra pass in order to increase the quality of the attempt.
This has been key in San Antonio's offense, as their ball movement—due to their outstanding passers at every position—deceived defenses and often led to open threes or clear lanes.
However, his role has not merely been to distribute. Jackson is one of the team's top shooters, and their overall dominance from downtown has been one of the key aspects to their success.
His defense too is a huge advantage over Richard Jefferson, as Jackson's tall frame—6'8''—allows him to guard players of positions ranging from the 1 to the 4. While the Spurs have been an offensive-oriented team thus far into the playoffs, the occasional stop at the hands of Captain Jack has been important.
However, neither his defense, passing or scoring has been his best quality since joining San Antonio. While Jackson's attitude has been a liability for other teams, there are some positives that come with it.
His level of competitiveness has been something that the team needed, and his ability to add energy and pace to the game is one of the main reasons for the Spurs' postseason dominance. Tim Duncan once called Jackson the "ultimate teammate" due to his ability to be there for you on and off the court.
Since Jackson joined the squad, the Spurs have gone 27-3 (regular and postseason combined). Clearly, he is doing something right. Down the road, he may lead the Spurs to a fifth championship.