Is Croshere More Effective than Jackson?

by Conrad Brunner

March 28, 2005

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Conrad Brunner

Q. I'm curious about Stephen Jackson's performance. Although he is one of the team's offensive weapons, and in most of the games he produces lots of points, in terms of efficiency I think his field-goal percentage is quite low, he often makes offensive fouls and sometimes shoots 3-pointers without trying to get inside first. On the other hand, I think Austin Croshere is much more consistent, and is underrated. What do you think? (From Ponlerd, in Bangkok, Thailand)

A. While it is true Jackson's efficiency has suffered recently (he's shooting 34.2 percent from the field in the last eight games), and there are some tendencies the coaching staff has worked with him to correct, Jackson remains a highly effective offensive force. The primary area of concern for Jackson is his tendency to settle for the first 3-pointer he gets, rather than either working the ball around the offense or probing the defense with dribble penetration. He is aware of the problem and the coaching staff regularly reminds him, but Jackson does occasionally fall into this old, bad habit.

Any frustration stems from the fact he currently has the most dynamic offensive skill set on the team and sometimes under-utilizes his total package. Jackson is very good on the drive and solid in the low post. The problem is, opposing defenses are fully aware of the threat he poses and are paying an unusual amount of attention. It's also important to understand the full load he's carrying. Because he is (among available players) the team's best perimeter defender and scorer, it's not unrealistic to say he's being asked to fill in for Ron Artest on defense and Jermaine O'Neal on offense. That's a massive responsibility. For the most part, however, Jackson has borne it well.

While Croshere has been extremely effective of late, he gets many of his shots from situations other players, including Jackson, create. He can get his own shot in certain situations, but is not as effective as a creator as Jackson. The ability to create shots is often underrated. Jackson may not be making a high percentage of his attempts lately, but he is one of the few players on the team capable of creating a shot from just about any situation. All of the Pacers, including Croshere, benefit from Jackson's presence. It's important for Jackson to accept those benefits increase when he's a little more judicious with shot-selection.