Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Jarrett Jack

Hornets’ backup point guard Jarrett Jack was an excellent pickup for New Orleans in November. Having mastered the roles of both starter and reserve in addition to having played both the 1 and 2 guard positions, the sixth-year vet brings strength, versatility and experience to his new squad. Now that he’s stepped into the starting lineup he must conjure all his powers to fill Chris Paul’s superstar shoes and help keep the Hornets in playoff contention.

Paul sat out Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls and is day-to-day while he recovers from a concussion he suffered Sunday night in Cleveland when he collided with Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions. No doubt Hornets fans feared the worst when they saw Chris Paul carried off the court in a stretcher. Last season the New Orleans fell out of playoff contention after losing Chris Paul to a torn meniscus in his left knee for eight weeks. Paul has fought his way back to health, and the Hornets (37-29) have regained their footing in the playoff race, currently sitting seventh in the West. However they must survive the better part of the remaining 16 games in order to lock down a playoff berth.

Jack has good size and the ability to make shots. He should be able to hold down the fort and stave off a lethal skid until Paul returns. He did an impressive job running the point for the Hornets in Monday’s loss to the Bulls and led the team with 23 points, in addition to leading the Hornets in scoring average during the 5-game road trip that concluded on Monday.

In his sophomore year (2003–04) Jack helped guide Georgia Tech to the NCAA Finals against UConn under coach Paul Hewitt and was named the Basketball Times All-South player in 2005 before entering the NBA draft, where he was selected 22nd overall by the Denver Nuggets, who traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft night. Now with his fourth NBA franchise, Jarrett Jack has averaged 8.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 apg off the bench this season, but his numbers have shot up over the past week as his minutes have increased. The Hornets kick off a five-game home stand against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Jarrett Jack

Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

Raptor Jarrett Jack’s statistics can be deceiving. He’s capable of startling his opponents with numbers well above the 10.7 ppg and 2.7 rebounds he’s averaging this season. He’ll crouch in the single digits and low doubles, then pop up like a Jack-out-the-box with one of those big games you wouldn’t normally expect.

Taking up the slack for sidelined star Chris Bosh, Jack surged against the Wizards on Saturday to help seize a 109-104 victory with 23 points, eight assists and four rebounds. And the previous night he put up 18, dished ten and grabbed five to take down the Nets.

Picked up from the Pacers, Jarrett Jack is one of the new factors responsible for turning around last season’s disappointing finish and this season’s tenuous start. Jack can make shots and get to the rim so he’ll get you some points with his reliable 48.5% field goal percentage. He’s also averaging a career high five assists per game. Jack’s a solid decision maker with the ball in his hands and a solid defender when it’s in his opponent’s. Though he won’t up the pot with steals or blocks, he won’t hurt you with a lot of personal fouls.

Jack is sharing minutes with Calderon – so if Calderon returns to the starting lineup that could cut into Jack’s productivity. But Jack has played well since he’s taken over as a starter. And as long as his team continues to play well coach Triano will likely stick with the formula that’s getting him wins. Jack knows how crucial every single game is down the backstretch. And he’s energized to spring into action to help his team secure a playoff position in the East. Jarrett Jack and the Raptors will be back on the attack Wednesday against the Blazers.