RaptorsHQ, SBNation's Toronto Raptors blog, was kind enough to answer some questions about our new players. Jack and Andersen are expected to be in uniform tonight, and I'd anticipate Marcus Banks starting his Hornet career on the inactive list.
On Jarrett Jack:
rHQ: The biggest knock on Jack as a starting calibre point guard is his shot creation skills. At times he can be a great facilitator, but he tends to play more of the "shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body." Raptors fans saw that in the last few games as he was chucking it up far too much.
rHQ: Jack's an interesting case on D. When he was brought to Toronto he was expected to be a nice change at the 1 to Jose Calderon's defensive woes, but that was probably a bit over-hyped. He's tenacious and can be a bull-dog in this capacity, but he still doesn't have the quicks to keep up with many of the league's top speesters like Rose, Westbrook and Rondo. At times too he gets too set on getting the steal as opposed to playing solid position defence, and then you'll see someone like Kirk Hinrich completely school him.
rHQ: I realize my first two answers haven't exactly painted a pretty picture of the player Hornets' fans are getting. But really beyond his propensity to shoot a bit too much, and his somewhat overhyped defensive skills, it should be all positives for NO. He's a terrific leader and locker room presence, and doesn't take well to losing. Once last year I went to the locker room to talk to him after a bad loss, and he was nowhere to be found. Did he skip out early and avoid the media? Nope. He was so upset with his performance that he went right to the gym to work out.He plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder too and countless times during his Raptors' career it was Jack that single-handily got the Raptors back in games thanks to his refusal to quit until the final buzzer had sounded.Maybe he's not quite a starting calibre point guard in the NBA, but a better back-up NO would be hard-pressed to find.
rHQ: Onto Andersen and I'll tackle both questions in one. First of all, I hated this acquisition for the Raptors when he originally arrived. Andersen looked to be essentially a less offensively talented version of Andrea Bargnani, a soft big man who played on the perimeter and couldn't rebound. HIs advanced metrics were dismal, and you figured that if Houston (a notoriously advanced stats-based team) gave up on him...However he was surprisingly effective in his time here. He's not the most athletic guy, but he fights hard in the paint and as a result, was a decent rebounder and post-defender. His offensive game though was much better than advertised, knocking down open J's and even 3's with ease. It pained me to see Jay Triano use him at the expense of youngsters like Amir Johnson and Joey Dorsey, but I could see why. He simply did a fairly good job at both ends whenever he was on the court, and is not nearly as soft as one would think.