The New Orleans Pelicans announced this morning the signing of Jarrett Jack to a 10-day contract. The 33-year-old point guard spent two years of his career in New Orleans at a time when the Chris Paul era was coming to a close in the city.
The most notable thing about Jack is the fact that he hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since January 2nd of last year. On that fateful day, he wound up tearing the ACL in his right knee and claimed it was the worst pain he had suffered in his life.
Over the summer, the Atlanta Hawks signed him to a 1-year deal, but he was cut during training camp because he wasn’t ready to take the floor yet. Last month, Marc Stein reported Jack was nearing a return to the court, and about two weeks ago, the Houston Rockets entertained the idea of adding him to their roster.
Jarrett Jack has spent 11 seasons in the NBA and sports a career average of 11.1 points, 4.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds. Although he was never been considered a top-flight point guard at anytime during his career, he was often praised by coaches for being a steady player who got the job done. Not surprisingly, he has intentions of entering the coaching world once his playing days are over.
With Jrue Holiday and Tim Frazier on the roster, questions have been raised on social media about whether Jack’s addition makes enough sense. Omri Casspi broke his thumb last night, removing yet another valuable perimeter shooter from a roster that lost Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway not even a week ago.
After witnessing the lopsided 129-99 loss to the Rockets on Thursday, the argument is the Pelicans need experience on the court just as much if not more than three-point shooting. New Orleans execution was extremely woeful against Houston as they tallied 20 turnovers, their third highest mark of the 2016-17 campaign. Holiday was particularly ineffective as he turned the ball over seven times himself.
Jack has acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience for playing on seven different teams which include a variety of styles and pace. The New Orleans Pelicans are in the midst of an in-season transformation on the fly, trying to build an offense focused exclusively around the two best scoring front court talents in the league. The rest of the offense doesn’t need to consistently dominate any single facet; it just needs to make sure to get the hell out of the way and contribute as needed: make the open weak side three-point attempt or take advantage of a large driving seam in the opponent’s defense.
No, Jack isn’t the type of point guard who can consistently create easy opportunities for others nor make the opposition pay for leaving him alone behind the three-point arc, but if his body is still physically capable, he can provide enough. First, he can make defenses pay from his bread and butter midrange spots.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, his arrival could allow Alvin Gentry to play Holiday at shooting guard, a position many feel he’s just as adept of handling. Looking just for his offense instead of having to also worry about initiating the offense every time down the floor could be a good thing. Over the course of this season, we’ve witnessed numerous times where Holiday’s indecision or a lack of aggressiveness hurt the team.
Jrue Holiday may now be able to spend more time at the 2, so the coaching staff would not have to be overly dependent on E’Twaun Moore at the position. With little depth at SG behind him — Hollis Thompson (another 10-day signee) and Solomon Hill (gulp: decision-making) — allowing Holiday to play off the ball would help fill the vacancy. Moreover, the coaches could ponder moving Moore back to his usual bench role and starting Tim Frazier if practices and games dictate it.
Most expected the Pelicans to suffer through some growing pains following the trade for DeMarcus Cousins, but last night was particularly painful to watch. With 24 games remaining on the schedule, New Orleans needs to figure out things on the court sooner rather than later and this is where taking a chance on Jack’s experience to help run a new-look offense over signing a free agent shooting guard could pay more dividends.
If it doesn’t work out, hey, it’s not that big of a deal because the Pelicans can go in another direction in 10 days.