The Warriors are 21-10. Take a minute to soak that up. The Golden State Warriors are 21-10.
Ever since those incredible “We Believe” days, the Warriors have been in the basement of the Western Conference, not even contending for a playoff spot (after 2008). Now, they are dominating and they are looking to secure one of the top playoff seeds in the West.
Why has this happened after another disappointing campaign in 2012? Well, maybe because Stephen Curry is not hurt, for once. Maybe even because Monta Ellis is gone, or because David Lee is stepping up. However, there is one simple answer to this question: Jarrett Jack.
Jack doesn’t even average 28 minutes per game. But in the Warriors’ last four games, they are 3-1, and Jack is averaging 18.5 points and six assists per game. He has keyed the offense by dishing the ball around to Curry, Lee, and Klay Thompson, as he averages more than five assists per game. But Jack has also turned up his scoring, as he is relentlessly attacking the hoop and making opponents worry about multiple things when guarding him.
Jack is efficient with his shots, as he averages less than 10 per game. But he could actually take more shots, since he is approximately a 44 percent three-point shooter and approximately a 49 percent field goal shooter. He is outperforming his career average in every single major statistical category, except for turnovers.
Golden State didn’t expect any of this when they traded for him this offseason, which makes his production that much more special. He has made an exceptionally big impact in the fourth quarter, and he put away the most recent game for the Warriors against the Celtics. The Celtics cut the Warriors’ lead down to eight points in the fourth, but Jack started to take the game into his own control. He set up two baskets and scored a few as well, showing that he can perform in the fourth quarter and shine in close games.
As the season goes on, Jack should be getting more minutes. When Andrew Bogut comes back, a starting five of Jack, Curry, Thompson, Lee and Bogut will be dominant. And Jack will be running the show, continuing to dominate while setting up his teammates, showing off his shooting ability, and leading the Warriors to wins.
He will continue to do more, but that’s what he has been doing so far, when he is on the court. Stephen Curry has done a fine job, as he is averaging 6.5 assists per game. However, he is better as a shooting guard and a shooter, and with Jack to set him up with his superior passing ability, Curry can perform even better. He gets tons of open looks with Jack, Curry and Thompson as the 1, 2, and 3, and is probably a better player off the ball.
If opponents pressure Curry, he will get flustered, as Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes noted here. Curry is more effective as a shooter, which Hughes also noted, meaning that Jack and Curry playing together can wreak havoc on opposing teams. With Bogut and Lee down low (Bogut will be back), Jack will have tons of weapons to work with.
With a team like this, it takes a great point guard to make the team elite. Jack isn’t considered elite, but he is definitely becoming one of the game’s better point guards. When given more playing time with Curry, Thompson, and Lee, Jack will just play better. However, for now, Warriors fans can just appreciate his production.
Even though it will just get better with every game.
Thanks for visiting HoopsHabit.com! We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below!
HoopsHabit’s Regular Column Schedule:
Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
Sunday – Your NBA Fix Podcast