Jarrett Jack spoke to the Indy Star
The Indiana Pacers will not match the four-year, $20 million offer the Toronto Raptors made to restricted free agent Jarrett Jack, Jack told The Indianapolis Star in a telephone interview late Sunday night.”It took a minute, but I was able to secure a contract for four years,” Jack said. “I’m looking forward to playing with Chris (Bosh) again. It will be like our freshman year (at Georgia Tech) all over again.”
The Pacers had until today to make a decision.“It was a very difficult decision because Jarrett proved last season what he can bring to a team,” team president Larry Bird said in a statement this afternoon. “We thank Jarrett for his contributions to the Pacers, both on and off the court, and wish him the best in Toronto.”
Jack said he is scheduled to fly to Toronto today and a news conference is planned for Tuesday.
Jack spoke kindly about his time with the Pacers
“I wanted to be a Pacer come next season,” Jack said. “I’m indebted to coach (Jim) O’Brien for what he did for me last season. Not only him, but also Larry Bird and (general manager) David Morway. They put me in the position to play well and get a long-term contract. I’ll always be indebted to them.”
I think this is a terrible signing for the Raptors
The Length Of The Contract
I didn’t want the Raptors to add any contracts that lasted beyond two years. They have a nice rebuilding opportunity that summer, a rebuilding option that they are going to need, and it shouldn’t be burdened by unnecessary contracts.
Of course, I was willing to make exceptions for exceptional talents, but Jarrett Jack is by no means an exceptional talent, and certainly not at that pay level.
This was a deal breaker for me, but even if it wasn’t, this deal had many more areas where it would fall apart.
Jarrett Jack’s Game
Description of Jarrett’s game — Jack of all trades, master of none — Jarrett Jack is mediocre or slightly below average pretty much across the board, which does make him a decent all-round player … but he has very few high level skills.
Jarrett Jack is a poor defender at the point guard position, he lacks the lateral quickness to stay with opposing point guards and gets burnt repeatedly on the defensive end. At the two guard, he’s decent, but undersized and not all that talented defensively to begin with. Jack is also a mediocre rebounder for a point and a poor one at the two.
Offensively, Jack is a good complementary scorer with good scoring efficiency. He’s a solid jump shooter (35% from three), and a slightly below average but aggressive penetrator (more huffing and puffing than a quality end product, also more scoring than passing). He is solid at getting to the free throw line, uses his body well (like a bull when he goes to the rim, rams through anything in his way) when he gets to the rim to draw fouls, and knocks down FTs at an impressive rate.
Jack is not a prototypical point guard; he’s not a good floor general, he’s not good at creating plays for others, and has poor vision for a point guard. However, he is unselfish, he will dribble the ball up and move the ball around, letting his teammates get involved.
The Money — Backup vs Starter
There’s two situations where I would be okay with the money Jarrett Jack is earning:
- The team has locked down their four starters at their four other positions, they’re all highly talented players and capable of leading their team deep into the playoffs. All that is left is adding a good role player at the point, someone who is solid and stops the team from failing due to a weak starting point guard. In this role, a $5 million salary for a player like Jarrett Jack is fine (slightly overpaid, but fine).
- A team on the verge of a title is looking for a primary backup guard, their owner green lights the move regardless of what effect it’ll have on the luxury tax.
Otherwise, adding a four year $20 million contract is a bad decision.
And frankly, I think it’s a very poor decision when that backup guard will be playing behind a Top 15 PG in the NBA in Jose Calderon who will be commanding 30-35 minutes a night leaving only 13-18 minutes for Jack at the point (with the rest of Jack’s minutes coming as a two guard).
I wanted the Raptors first priority to be adding a wing player. I wanted to see the Raptors add an above average defender, and an above average rebounder, while being an acceptable offensive player.
I felt the limitations of the Raptors main cast of characters made this type of player necessary, and very important to next season. Unfortunately, now that the Raptors MLE is all but used up, it’ll become a lot more difficult for the Raptors to acquire this player.
Raptors Overall Defense
With the MLE now used, the Raptors main lineup is now starting to get a lot clearer.
Starters: Calderon + DeRozan + Hedo + Bosh + Bargnani
Rotation Players: Jack + Delfino + Wright + Evans
The more and more I think about Hedo Turkoglu playing for Jay Triano, the more I think that Hedo is going to loaf defensively. Turkoglu has been a good-to-very good defender under three coaches and they were Rick Adelman, Gregg Popovich and Stan Van Gundy. Under the rest of his coaches, Hedo slacked off defensively and was a poor defender. I don’t think Jay Triano will be able to command the respect needed to get Hedo to play good defense for the Raptors next season, especially not when there are so many other defensive problems around Hedo in the lineup.
There’s three players who I think can play good defense next season, and one maybe defender. Those three players are Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh and Antoine Wright. Turkoglu and Bosh are both good defenders, while Wright is only slightly above average. As I just said, my confidence in Hedo giving a good defensive effort next season is fairly low, and my confidence in Bosh is equally low (since Bosh was below average defensively last year under Triano). I expect Antoine Wright to give his best efforts defensively, because it’s the only way he can get on the court.
The one maybe good defender was Demar DeRozan, but judging from his summer league play, he’ll take some time to get his defense in gear. So I wouldn’t be counting on him.
As for the rest of the Raptors lineup — Bargnani, Evans, Calderon, Jack and Delfino — I rate Carlos Delfino as a slightly below average defender … while the rest are either poor or very poor defensively.
To conclude, as currently constituted, I expect the Raptors to be one of the 10 worst defensive teams in the NBA next season.
The Money Part Two
The Raptors have around $62 million tied up in eight players heading into the 2010/11 season, assuming Chris Bosh resigns for a maximum contract. By the time the Raptors fill out their roster with minimum contract players, that figure will rise to $66 million or so.
The luxury tax threshold is currently $69.9 million and is expected to fall hard next offseason. The Raptors could already be on the verge of crossing that threshold next season, without spending any further money.
If the Raptors do spend more money this offseason — say Delfino for a three year $10 million contract — that will almost certainly wipe out their chances of being able to spend any money next offseason. Leaving them to minimum contracts, or slightly above the minimum, to upgrade their roster.
In other words, signing Jarrett Jack now, takes options off the board next season. I think the Raptors could have gotten a better player for their money next year than Jack.
My Preferred Player
There were two players I wanted the Raptors to look at: Flip Murray and Anthony Carter.
Since Jarrett Jack is a solid reliable backup guard, rather than flashy, explosive and somewhat undependable guard, let’s then assume Colangelo would have been more interested in Anthony Carter (my second choice) than Flip Murray (my first choice).
I would have liked to have seen the Raptors sign Anthony Carter to a one or two year contract. They may have gotten him on a minimum deal, but if not, they very likely would not have had to go above $2 million per annum.
Anthony Carter is an above average defender, a slightly above average rebounder, and a serviceable offensive player. Offensively, Anthony Carter shoots less than Jack, which is a good thing because he’s not as good a scorer as Jack is, or as good a shooter, and not as efficient as Jack is.
I think this is a terrible signing. I do not think Jack is worth the money paid to him and I think, in time, the Raptors will regret this contract.
It’s not as bad as Jason Kapono’s deal … but it’s bad.