Golden State Warriors: Why Jarrett Jack Is Your Sixth Man of the Year

Jarrett Jack
Jarrett Jack has guided the Warriors back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 as potentially the NBA’s Sixth Man Award winner. (NBA.com photo)

It’s safe to say the Golden State Warriors have received more than they expected to receive from Jarrett Jack.

Jack has supplied the Warriors with a much-needed spark off the bench as he finished the 2012-13 season averaging 12.9 points per game (PPG) and shooting 45 percent. Those numbers don’t seem amazing and they aren’t amazing. However, when you add his scoring to 5.5 assists per game (APG), clutch play and leadership, it’s obvious that he has been a crucial player.

The point guard has scored 18 or more points in 20 games this year and against the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 22, he scored 30 points. Jack had a string of five consecutive games (not including three games he missed) from Feb. 5-22 where he shot 50 percent or higher and from Feb. 5-24 (six games) Jack averaged 22.5 PPG.

Jack has the ability to score a lot of points and he has benefited the Warriors by doing so and leading the offense. Jack has missed three games this year and the Warriors are 0-3 in those games. In those three games, the Warriors have lost by an average of 17.3 points. In addition, Jack is shooting better, averaging more steals and averaging 1.2 more APG in wins than losses.

Even though Jack hasn’t been as productive lately, he has still been able to help his team. Jack’s estimated wins added (EWA) is 5.6, meaning he has added an estimated 5.6 wins for the Warriors. This number isn’t great at all, but it shows that Jack has helped the Warriors win some games.

In February, Jack averaged 18.4 PPG and in December, Jack averaged 15.4 PPG. In those two months, the Warriors went 18-11 (not including the three games Jack missed). The Warriors finished the season 47-35, so excluding those two months, the Warriors were 29-21.

In other words, the Warriors are better off with Jack than they are without him.

Jack has scored nine or more points in 61 games and the Warriors are 36-25 in those games. When Jack doesn’t score at least nine points, the Warriors are just 11-10. So, there is a correlation between Jack’s success and Golden State’s success, which is key in assessing Jack’s value. He has helped the Warriors and when Jack does well, the Warriors do well.

There have been other worthy sixth-man candidates, such as J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks. Smith scores more than Jack, as he averaged 18.1 PPG during the 2012-13 season. However, he didn’t shoot well, as his shooting percentage was 42.2 percent. He averaged 2.7 APG and shot just 35.6 percent from 3-point range, which isn’t great. Smith also shot 76.5 percent from the free-throw line, while Jack shot 84.6 percent.

Jack has been more efficient with his shots, and in most statistical categories, Jack has been better. In addition, Smith has received about four extra minutes per game (MPG), so he has had more time to rack up points and assists. Even though Smith’s player efficiency rating (PER) is a bit higher, he really hasn’t been too efficient.

Why? Because he isn’t guiding the Knicks as a facilitator and he isn’t shooting as well as you might think.

Jamal Crawford is another legitimate candidate, as he averaged 16.5 PPG. Crawford is a scoring threat who can spark a team off the bench by making a big shot and the fact that he is scoring more than 16 PPG in less than 30 MPG is very impressive. Crawford is a candidate as well, but he takes a lot of shots, as he attempted 13.4 shots per game.

However, Crawford has Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on his team. Stephen Curry is a great player, but Paul is definitely better and Griffin is more explosive than David Lee. Plus, Jack runs the offense when he plays, while Crawford has Paul, who is first in assists per game (APG) out of players who have played at least 40 games, to feed him the ball.

In addition, Crawford is a streaky shooter. From March 30-April 13, a span of seven games, Crawford failed to shoot more than 50 percent. In five of those games, Crawford failed to shoot 43 percent and in three games, he failed to make one-third of his shots.

There is no player who can consistently impact his team like Jack and there is no player who can change a game like Jack. Jack has had lots of strong shooting streaks, but he never goes completely cold. Jack doesn’t shoot a ton and in games where he has taken 18 shots or more, he has scored 26, 29 and 30 points. Jack is efficient and he only shoots a lot when he knows he’s helping the team.

Jack is a complete, valuable player and he deserves to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. Neither Crawford (2.5 APG) nor Smith are good facilitators and both have taken more shots than Jack. Jack doesn’t drive the team crazy with his shooting; he distributes the ball for points instead. Golden State doesn’t have a bona fide star, while Smith and Crawford both have stars on their team.

In other words, Jack deserves to win the award.

Points are overvalued and it wouldn’t be shocking at all if Smith or Crawford won. Both score a lot of points, but Jack still easily scores in the double-digits despite playing in about 60 percent of the game’s minutes. Value is the key here and Jack has sparked the team, led the team to success and been the most valuable player.

Could Jack miss out on the award? Yes. Should he miss out on the award? No.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Jarrett Jack NBA NBA Sixth Man Award