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NBA Sunday: Jack’s Free Agency Stock Rising
Posted By Lang Greene On December 23, 2012 @ 9:54 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, but sometimes it most certainly is and allows a player to thrive. Golden State Warriors backup point guard spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Hornets, but was dealt to the Warriors back in July as part of a three-team deal.
The Hornets had used the No. 10 overall pick in the June draft to select Austin Rivers, a standout guard from Duke. With the arrival of Rivers and Greivis Vasquez already on the roster, the Hornets quickly made the decision that Jack, despite being highly productive for the club, was expendable.
Jack knew as soon as the Hornets selected Rivers in the lottery that his time in New Orleans was up and that he’d eventually be dealt. The veteran guard was happy when he found out he was going to the emerging Warriors.
“It was kind of a logjam situation when (New Orleans) drafted Austin (Rivers) and they had, I don’t know, thoughts about him playing the point guard position,” Jack told HOOPSWORLD. “I just knew it wasn’t going to work with the three of us trying to juggle for that one spot. So I’m happy I was able to find a new situation and make the best out of it.”
The results of the trade have been mixed for the Hornets. Vasquez has established himself as a solid full-time starting point guard who will likely be in the Most Improved Player discussion, while Rivers has struggled mightily adapting to the pro game playing the point position.
Jack, on the other hand, has become a pivotal cog in the Warriors’ hot start to the season. The Warriors haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2007 campaign, but currently hold the fifth spot in the Western Conference if the season were to end today.
The veteran guard is averaging 12 points, five assists and three rebounds per game, while logging starter’s minutes (27) this season. The former Georgia Tech product is also connecting on a career best 42 percent from three-point range.
In 13 December contests, Jack has averaged 15.5 points and six assists while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three-point range.
Jack is in the final year of his current deal and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The point guard class of 2013 will be a loaded one with Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings, Jose Calderon, Mo Williams, Jeff Teague, Darren Collison, Beno Udrih and Rodney Stuckey all expected to be available.
Despite a rising free agency status during the early portion of this season, Jack says he’s happy in Golden State and readily admits that one of his goals entering the campaign was to not force his game or press even though his contract situation is unsettled for the moment.
“I’m happy here man,” Jack said. “It’s basketball at the end of the day. I don’t put too much into [free agency]. This is something I’ve been doing all my life. When you put too much extra emphasis on it, I think that’s when you start playing bad and start going outside of yourself. I just try to be myself. Come out and be that blue collar player that I am.”
Although Jack would be a starter on a solid number of teams around the league, the guard says he has no complaints being behind Stephen Curry on the depth chart. Jack says Curry is even better than being advertised and says he has so much respect for the young guard – on and off the floor.
“You just get a better appreciation for somebody like [Curry] when you see him play on a day-to-day; how crafty he is with the ball and just his overall effort each and every game,” Jack said. “I couldn’t be nothing but happy for him. Great dude as well. One of the better teammates I’ve had in this league.”
The Warriors currently have $75 million in salary commitments for the 2014 season. This figure will likely place the team in luxury tax territory. Richard Jefferson ($11m), Brandon Rush ($4m) and Carl Landry ($4m) all have player options at the end of this season they can decline or exercise, while Andris Biedrins ($9m) has an early termination option as well. The contracts for Jeremy Tyler ($884k) and Kent Bazemore ($789k) are non-guaranteed for next season.
Landry is playing well enough to earn a lucrative multi-year deal should he decide to test the market and Jack is also well positioned to earn one as well. It will be interesting to see how Golden State works the salary cap to retain their talent which currently has the team picking up momentum.
Eric Maynor Gaining Confidence In Surgically Repaired Knee
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Eric Maynor missed the majority of the 2012 season after suffering a torn ACL to his right knee. The fourth year player returned to the court this season and is back to playing at a strong level as a reserve to All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
HOOPSWORLD recently caught up with Maynor to discuss the strength of his surgically repaired knee, his level of confidence playing on it, thoughts on new teammate Kevin Martin and the chemistry in the Thunder’s locker room.
Is Wesley Johnson A Bust?
Phoenix Suns forward Wesley Johnson entered the NBA with high expectations as the No. 4 overall pick of the 2010 draft class, but now in his third season the forward has yet to live up to the hype and legitimate concerns of whether he can make it at the professional level have started to blossom.
Johnson was selected above players such as DeMarcus Cousins (5), Greg Monroe (7), Paul George (10), Eric Bledsoe (18) and Avery Bradley (19) who have been able to carve out niches in the league at their respective positions.
Johnson has only logged court time in 11 of the Suns’ 27 games to start the season averaging just two points on 32 percent shooting from the floor.
Denver Nuggets forward Corey Brewer was one of Johnson’s mentors during his rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and feels Johnson will eventually become a consistent player in a team’s rotation. Brewer says playing out of position at shooting guard during his first two seasons in the league with Minnesota hurt Johnson’s confidence.
“I talked to Wes the last time we played them,” Brewer told HOOPSWORLD regarding the players’ November 12 reunion. “Wes just needs a chance man. He’s been in tough situations. Minnesota was a tough situation for his game. But I feel like Phoenix is going to be a good fit for him [eventually]. Once he gets on the court and gets a chance he’s going to be just fine.”
The bust label is thrown around to freely on young players these days and while Johnson has demonstrated an ability to produce when given minutes it is clear that time is ticking for him to become a lot more consistent as a pro.
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