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Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack key to New York Knicks' turnaround season

From NBA media reports

* Today on NBA League Pass: Magic vs. Knicks (3:30 ET)

As brilliant as Kristaps Porzingis has been at times early this season, the “Unicorn” isn’t the sole reason the Knicks have experienced a turnaround in their fortunes in the first year A.C. (After Carmelo). Tim Hardaway Jr. has been much better than many anticipated and the new front office regime, Steve Mills and Scott Perry, deserve credit for finding the right pieces to surround their young stars as they continue their growth and development.

Perhaps the most critical piece in that puzzle has been veteran point guard Jarrett Jack, whose savvy and penchant for providing the right kind of leadership, on and off the court, has been crucial to the Knicks’ cause so far this season. Jack has certainly been a catalyst for the Knicks’ offensive revival, as Howie Kussoy of the New York Post shares, as they prepare to host Orlando this afternoon (3:30 ET, NBA Leauge Pass) at Madison Square Garden:

Jack’s first season with the Knicks — his 13th in the league — has quietly helped make the building reach its potential again. Originally a candidate to be cut from the overcrowded roster at this point in the season, the veteran point guard has been far more vital than the Knicks ever anticipated when signing him in September.

Entering Sunday’s game against the Magic at the Garden, Jack ranks 16th in the league in assists (5.9), 11th in assist to turnover ratio (3.53), and second in the NBA in assist ratio (43.0), which measures the percentage of a player’s individual possessions which end in an assist.

The Knicks, meanwhile, are fifth in the league in assists per game (23.4), after ranking 19th, and 26th, the previous two seasons.

“When I got here I kind of gauged the lineup of the guys I was playing with … [and] it calls for somebody within that five, to kind of be like, ‘Hey man, I can’t try and barge my way into the offense.’

“I’ve got to sacrifice for the betterment of everybody and it’s been productive for us,” Jack said following practice Saturday. “I’m all good with just setting the table, understanding my role and knowing what’s been great and positive for the team.

“I just try to be an extension of whatever coach wants to have happen out there, and I try to relay it as best as I can to the guys and just keep the consistency of the offense and the defense, as well as the team’s morale. … I think it’s my job to kind of set the template and keep it as even-keeled as I can.”

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