The emotional rollercoaster that is Jarrett Jack has seen Golden State Warriors fans erupt with pleasure one second, while proceeding to pull their hair out the next.
It has been feast or famine so far this postseason with Jack. He is just as likely to hit a big shot for you with time running out as he is to committing the most mind boggling of turnovers. He is the ultimate conundrum.
On one hand, the Warriors, while talented, are the youngest and most inexperienced of the remaining playoff teams. When on his game, Jack offers the veteran steadying presence sorely needed on this team of youngsters, especially with David Lee presumably (but not assuredly) out of commission.
On the other, however, too often late in games Jack, the veteran, is the one most responsible for the befuddling labyrinth the fourth quarter becomes. Averaging nearly four turnovers per game, both the near comeback by the Denver Nuggets in Game 6 of Round 1 and the nail-biting triumph of the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of Round 2 can, to a degree, be placed on the shoulders of the shaky Jack.
Excessive dribbling, questionable shot-selection, sloppy decision-making and shoddy defense—most notably on Manu Ginobli's game-winning three—have come to define Jack in his last two fourth quarters. For as great as he played in the regular season—averaging nearly 13 points and six assists with only two turnovers per game—he has been equally as bad late in games.
With Stephen Curry being bottled up late in games, double-teams being thrown at him with increasing regularity, the Warriors desperately need someone to step up and take some of the slack off of him. With David Lee on the shelf, Andrew Bogut not playing a vital offensive role and Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson still a year or two away from being able to shoulder that type of burden, it all comes back to one guy: Jarrett Jack.
And he knows that as well as anyone. According to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, Jack spoke after practice Tuesday and addressed his struggles:
“Hindsight is always 20-20–I had some great looks, I thought, that I normally make that didn’t go down for me.”
Going forward, Jack understands the mindset his coach and teammates need him to have:
“I know what he expects of me, I know what my teammates expect of me. I’m just going out there with no worries and no second thoughts.”
Stephen Curry is just one man. If the Warriors hope to surprise the Spurs, they’ll need Jack to be more Dr. Jekyll and less Mr. Hyde.
Marc Jackson and the rest of his Warrior teammates must hope that the Jarrett Jack that helped guide them to the playoffs can come up big when it matters.
All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
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