It's a sad day when one of your team-favorites' career comes to an end. It's even sadder when that same player fights the truth. As a fan, I kinda want him to fight. After all that is the same Lionhearted mentality that he brought to the floor.
In his fifth season with the Mavericks, Jerry Stackhouse has seen his role on the team slowly decline. His position as the team's sixth-man was given to Jason Terry, a younger and healthier player. He is currently inactive due to injury and issues with the team over minutes.
Remembering Jerry's career.
A product of North Carolina, Jerry attended two years there before entering the NBA. Even then he was herald as being a finesse and reckless player, a style that would later be his bread and butter. He led Carolina in scoring and rebounding in his second year.
In 1995, Jerry Stackhouse was recognized as Sports Illustrated's College Player of the Year. That summer, the Philadelphia 76ers would draft Jerry. He was taken in the first round, third overall.
At the beginning of 1996, Jerry showed he was ready for "Prime Time," by leading the Sixers in scoring with an 18.7 ppg. He would later represent them in the NBA Rookie All-Star Game and score 15 points for the East squad.
In 1997, Jerry was traded to the Detroit Pistons, and played there for five seasons.
Here are some of Jerry's highlights from Detroit. In the '98-'99 season he led the team in free throws with 85 percent. In the '00-'01 season he lead Detroit in scoring, averaging 29.8 ppg, scoring an NBA best 2380 points for the year. Set a team record for most points in a game with 57. He also led the team that year in assists with a total of 410.
In 2002 Jerry was traded to the Washington Wizards.
In the '02-'03 season, Jerry was averaging 21.5 ppg, and played 70 games. In the '03-04 season, all of Jerry's stats took a hit. He only played 26 games due to injury.
In 2004 Jerry was traded to Dallas.
He became a fan favorite, although in a reduced roll as sixth-man. His shooting skills and swagger helped lead the team to 67 wins in the '06-'07 season.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Lately Jerry's health has been his greatest opponent. In the past few years, he has been plagued with injuries. Among them include both knees, hamstrings, his groin, and he is currently battling a heel injury.
He has recently vented his feelings about having his role reduced, after it appeared he had a shot a being the starting two-guard.
Coach Rick Carlisle, owner Mark Cuban, and GM Donnie Nelson have to weigh Jerry's need for minutes against the team's need to win. The team's need to win has to come first. Jerry has said he can still play at least 20 minutes a night. That 20 minutes that the younger and healthy guys want, too.
Mark Cuban has made it clear, he is not going to buyout Jerry's contract, which is worth $7 million this year. Cuban also said he wants to keep Jerry here to help mentor Gerald Green and Antoine Wright.
To me, that showed a lot of respect to Jerry, by believing he has something to give to the next generation of players.
Donnie Nelson has said that Jerry and his agent are free to look for greener pastures. Donnie also feels that Dallas has the most to offer Jerry.
So do I.