“The leader I learned from the most? Jarrett Jack had a big influence on me when he was here,” said the NBA’s Most Valuable Player last season in his MVP press conference.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Nets’ Jarrett Jack have stayed in touch since Jack played with Golden State during the 2012-2013 season. Jack, who has played in the NBA for more than 10 years, is widely known across the league as a people-person, someone many new players on the Nets have mentioned as a guy they already knew on the squad before even coming here.
And with Jack taking on more of a leadership role with this team heading into the 2015-16 season, the Nets are in good hands.
Spending most of his time in Atlanta this offseason, Jack’s main focus has been on “working out, working hard, and getting ready for the upcoming season.” Not really a vacation kind-of-guy, the time off has been spent visiting friends and family, not as easy to do in the middle of a tough basketball schedule.
“The remainder of the summer for me is pretty much two-a-days, trying to really get my body in condition for a regular 82-game season, Jack said. “It’s tough traveling, being in a different city and playing a game every other night, if you don’t build your body up for it now, it won’t last you throughout the whole season.”
One business trip in particular though stood out, when the Nets veteran players came to cheer on the young squad at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in July. Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Sergey Karasev, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and joined Jack to provide support and encouragement.
“We’re a part of this whole thing, from the moment it starts in the summer, preparing for this thing in the fall and taking it all the way into the marathon of an 82-game season,” Jack said. “Going down there, showing those young guys support, to understand that they have us behind them is the foundation we’re trying to lay here.”
Leadership is nothing new to Jarrett, both on and off the court.
“It’s about working hard first and foremost, having somebody, example-wise that they [the young players] can follow and when there are times that a vocal presence is necessary, being that too,” he said.
“You know, I’ve been in this League going on 11 years now, so I’ve seen things from all sides of the spectrum. Being able to help somebody personally or the team collectively is something that falls on me at this particular point and time,” Jack added.
With a decent number of fresh faces on the Brooklyn roster, that influential tone will be more important than ever heading into the 2015-16 season.
“I can’t wait for all of us to get into one building and to be able to start to mesh and gel, put some of this hard work we had in the summer to use,” Jack said. “I know we’ve got some excited young guys that are ready to come out here and submit themselves as an NBA player, so I’m excited about it.”
Getting the new team in one building for the first time will take place on Monday during Nets Media Day, where most of the focus is spent on press interviews, shooting promos and creating social media content for the season. From there, the Nets squad heads directly to North Carolina for Training Camp – let the meshing and gelling begin.
“You try and get yourself prepared as much as you can. Trying to simulate game situations is very difficult for whatever reason; you never can quite duplicate it. But I’m getting myself to it as close as possible,” Jack said in regards to transitioning from offseason to in-season basketball.
The Nets will have a little over a month from the start of training camp to get fully ready for the season: They open in Brooklyn on October 28, facing the Bulls at Barclays Center. Make no mistake, the Nets’ “Jack of all trades” is ready to represent.