This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
Despite an exciting offseason for the Golden State Warriors, they, unfortunately, weren’t able to re-sign their sixth man from last season, Jarrett Jack. The Warriors had to renounce their Bird Rights on him in order to acquire Andre Iguodala. Jack signed a four-year, $25 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers instead.
Jack was a fan favorite. Off the court, he always had great energy, was engaging with the fans, and constantly showed his gratitude for the fans.
On the court, Jack used his infectious energy and toughness effectively in the sixth-man role. Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists in 79 games last season, and, in the postseason, he averaged 17.2 points and 4.7 assists. He also finished third in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award voting.
Jack’s toughness and his ability to attack the basket provided the perfect balance to Stephen Curry’s unbelievable three-point shooting. When he played alongside Curry, he played point guard, which allowed Curry to slide over to the shooting guard position, so Curry could focus more on shooting than distributing.
The Warriors will also miss Jack in clutch situations. He hit several big shots during the regular season, and, in Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs, he converted on three big shots in a 69-second stretch late in the fourth quarter to help send the game to overtime. Jack also went 5-for-5 in the last 17 minutes of the game.
Although he hit some clutch shots in the postseason, Jack also had several costly turnovers and defensive lapses. In the postseason, Jack averaged 3.2 turnovers and only 4.7 assists. In Game 1 against the Spurs when Manu Ginobili hit the game-winning three, Jack should’ve been the one to rotate over to him and contest the shot.
Some other aspects of Jack’s game that Warriors fans won’t miss is his indecisiveness and bad shot selection at times. On many possessions, Jack would dribble too much and with no purpose or definite plan. Then when the shot clock was about to expire, he’d had to force a tough shot. Other times, he would put up a contested elbow jumpshot, early in the shot clock, before letting a play fully develop.
These types of shots were maddening and quite reminiscent of when Monta Ellis played for the Warriors. Both Jack and Ellis showed a lack of awareness at times. They were so focused on what they could do in the possession that they would miss, for example, Curry wide open for three. Just like when Ellis was a Warrior, Jack’s type of play often took opportunities away from Curry.
Although Jack played well alongside Curry most of the time, Curry will benefit more when he’s able to play alongside Iguodala. First of all, Iguodala is expected to play some minutes as a point forward, which will allow Curry to play off the ball again. Iguodala is a much better decision maker than Jack, and since he drives to the basket more than Jack did, he will draw more attention from the defense, which will free up Curry for threes. Second of all, if Curry is having trouble hitting big shots, Iguodala is a viable option in the clutch.
The Warriors have several players who can pick up the slack at the backup point guard position. Although Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore aren’t quite the scorers that Jack was, they’re much better defenders. Nemanja Nedovic isn’t known for his defense, but he is much more athletic than Jack, so he can get to the rim much more easily.
Even though Jack was a valuable asset to the team last season, the Warriors made up for his loss with other players who can collectively bring similar, or better, skills. The Warriors wouldn’t have had as successful a season without Jack, but they are still equipped to make another strong playoff run without him.