By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
May 8, 2012
Hornets.com continues its look back at the 2011-12 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
With Chris Pauls status in doubt entering training camp, Jarrett Jack knew there was a realistic possibility that his role could change at a moments notice. When the Hornets completed their much-discussed trade with the Clippers in mid-December, it immediately vaulted Jack into the starting lineup, while also making him a primary offensive option. The 6-foot-3 point guard willingly accepted the additional responsibility, saying even before the Paul trade that his previous experience as an NBA starter meant hed be ready to handle the job.
By seasons end, the Georgia Tech product led New Orleans in scoring average (excluding Eric Gordons points per game tally over nine appearances), as well as assists average and free-throw percentage. In all three categories, it represented a career high for Jack (incidentally, his percentage at the foul line of 87.2 edged his previous best of 87.1 by the slimmest of margins).
He had his most productive year, New Orleans second-year coach Monty Williams assessed. That shows what kind of person he is, because he really embraced the situation. Jarrett knows hes not Chris Paul, but hes not trying to be Chris Paul. He knows where his value lies. He played his game all year, got better at running the team, and we trusted him. I thought he did a remarkable job of running the team and having a really good year for us.
Jacks dual ability to score and distribute was highlighted by five double-doubles, including one triple-double. For a team that ranked 29th in scoring average this season, the seven-year pros offensive spark was greatly needed. Unfortunately for the Hornets, it was often not quite enough to result in a victory, with the club frequently losing by a narrow margin in the games started by Jack.
After appearing in 45 of the Hornets first 53 games this season, his season came to a premature end when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot, causing him to sit out the final 13 games.
You lose your starting point guard, but you also lose a guy who had his best year, Williams said when he learned Jacks injury was a season-ender. With guys being injured, he was a bright spot for us for sure. (We miss) his pick-and-roll, his ability to score and pass, his ability to talk on the floor, his experience.
I dont think any of us train all summer, then when the season comes, you want to be sitting on the side, said Jack, one of the NBAs most durable players, having played 82-plus games four times. Obviously with the condensed schedule and the accelerated number of games, its taken a toll on a lot of players. I dont know if that was the case with me, but its definitely the first time its happened. (Sitting out games is) difficult, but youve got to put your health first.
Its somewhat rare for a players most memorable game of a season to come in defeat, but Jack posted the first triple-double of his NBA career March 21 vs. Golden State, a 101-92 home loss. After a three-day hiatus from game action, Jack compiled 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with the boards representing a career high. It was a bittersweet achievement for the veteran. Its cool, its an accomplishment, but we didnt win, Jack said after the game.
Its unfortunate, Williams said of the loss to the Warriors, because youd love to be able to celebrate that (Jacks triple-double).
Jack has one year remaining on the four-year contract he signed as a restricted free agent with Toronto in 2009. His first full campaign as a member of the Hornets ended with a season-ending injury, but hes expected to return to the floor after six to eight weeks of rest (he was ruled out for the season on April 9). The next step? Building on his excellent individual performance of 2011-12.
You train hard all summer and work on different aspects to make sure youre ready to incorporate all the different parts into the team aspect, Jack said of what led to his stellar season. Im happy, but Im not satisfied. I make a conscious effort every summer, every offseason, to try to improve on everything. I still think I have a lot of growing to do and a lot of room for improvement.
Did I have a great year this season? Yeah. But I still can come back and be even better.
|ADDITIONAL 2011-12 SEASON IN REVIEWS|
|JASON SMITH||JARRETT JACK||GUSTAVO AYON|
|MARCO BELINELLI||LANCE THOMAS||XAVIER HENRY|
|EMEKA OKAFOR||CHRIS KAMAN||ERIC GORDON|
|GREIVIS VASQUEZ||AL-FAROUQ AMINU||TREVOR ARIZA|
blog comments powered by Disqus