Monday, July 20, 2009
You Don't Know Jack...
In honour of Jarrett Jack's impending arrival to the city of Toronto, I present my own version of the (mildly) entertaining trivia game "You Don't Know Jack."
Question #1: What position will Jack play with the Raptors?
Answer: Not as much point guard as most people think. Local writers have assumed Jack will play the majority of his minutes backing up Jose Calderon at point guard (meaning also that Roko Ukic would have a reduced role). However, in my last post, I pointed out that Jack played the majority of his minutes last season at shooting guard. Indiana's back up point guard was Travis Diener, so it's not as if the Pacers were stacked at the position either. My gut feeling says DeRozan starts at the 2 next season, and Jack is the first guard off the bench (first to substitute DeRo, and then another shooting guard to relieve Calderon, moving Jack over to the point).
Question #2: Why didn't Jack play more point last season?
Answer: Well, T.J. Ford had a bit to do with it. But it also had to do with one pretty key stat: Jack's 12.3% Turnover Rate ranked 112th among guards in the NBA last season. If he wants to run the point (and honestly, I'm not sure what Jack's preference is, position-wise), then he needs to learn to take care of the basketball.
Question #3: What is the common thread between Jack and the other acquisitions Toronto has made this off-season?
Answer: The ability to get to the basket. I've touched on this before, but none of Toronto's wingmen last season possessed the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. The Raptors top 3 swingmen last season (Parker, Kapono, Moon) were notorious for being jump shooters. In fact, on average, only 16% of their shots came in the paint. Compare (and contrast) that to the players that will likely be replacing them this season:
(note: Delfino's percentage is from the 07-08 season)
Add in DeRozan's explosiveness and you can definitely see a pattern emerging with what Colangelo has done to his corps of wings this off-season.
Question #4: Ok, so we know what the common thread is between Jack and the other off-season acquisitions, but what is the common thread between Jack and the existing Raptors?
Answer: The two-point jumper. I'm not the biggest fan of the two-point jumper (see here and here) but Jack is one of the best in the NBA at the shot. He is one of only seven guards in the NBA to shoot 46% or better on two-point jumpers last season. Check out the list:
Jason Terry .492 (45%)
Ray Allen .487 (47%)
Steve Nash .487 (9%)
Chris Paul .479 (8%)
Derek Fisher .476 (39%)
Mo Williams .464 (31%)
Jarrett Jack .460 (23%)
Jack finds himself in some good company there, and it's even better when you consider the number in brackets. That is the percentage of the player's successful two-point jumpers that are assisted. This is where you realize that Jack really is a true "combo guard." Most shooting guards (like Allen and Terry) are catch & shoot guys (high percentage of their buckets are assisted on), whereas most true point guards (like Nash and Paul) shoot their jumpers coming off of pick & rolls (low percentage assisted on). Jack and Mo Williams are rare exceptions of guys who can do a bit of both, and do them both well.
Question #5: What else makes Jack a unique player, statistically speaking?
Answer: His "triple threat." Of the seven players listed above, Jack and Chris Paul were the only ones who balanced their skill at the two-point jumper with a willingness to score inside (both with 26% of their attempts coming in the paint). But Paul can't match Jack's ability to shoot from three-point land and that is where Jack's uniqueness is revealed. Only a few dozen players in the NBA satisfy what I will call the triple-threat qualification: A minimum of 25% of their shot attempts must come from each of three-point land, two-point jumpers, and inside.
This should identify players who have some of the most balanced offensive games in the league. However, it's one thing to take your shots from all over the court, making said shots is the true test. Baron Davis (37% FG), Stephen Jackson (41%), and Ron Artest (40%) are just a few examples of players who qualify for the "triple threat" designation but don't connect at a very high percentage, meaning them shooting from all over the court is probably more of a threat to their own team.
With that in mind, here are the leaders in field-goal percentage last season among players who qualified as "triple threats":
1. Mike Miller .482
2. Jason Richardson .477
3. Paul Pierce .457
4. Eric Gordon .456
5. Manu Ginobili .454
6. Jarrett Jack .453
*minimum 2000 minutes played
Final Question: Based on all of that geeky statistical info, is there a natural geeky stat-inspired nickname for Toronto's newest player?
Answer: Most Definitely. You need something that highlights his ability to play both guard positions, his ability to shoot from all over the floor and his ability to finish at the rim. It's a natural isn't it? Ladies and gentlemen, I present: Jarrett "Jack Of All Trades".