Master of Their Craft.
Sounds like some kind of weird mix between the "Game of Thrones" and Gob Bluth's magic shows.
This has nothing to do with that. When focusing on a single player's elite skill, one usually points directly to the three-point shooting (Stephen Curry), interior defense (Andrew Bogut), high-post shooting/passing (David Lee), and even Klay Thompson's quick release. But what one doesn't think of is the pull-up jumper of one Jarrett Jack.
I mean, how often does a coach ever draw up a play for a shot so closely contested and statistically inefficient? The answer is much closer to no than it is yes. However, it's been that shot that has mesmerized many Warriors fans when watching Jack come off the bench and spark the offense this season.
Give up a wide-open corner three? Rotate quicker. Give up an offensive rebound leading to a layup? Box out. Give up an open drive to the basket? Talk more on defense.
But a pull-up jumper with the shot clock winding down? Teams usually tip their proverbial caps and play on.
And here comes Jarrett Jack, a player who is unusual in his offensive tendencies and an extremely effective midrange long-two shooter. Most people will tell you that is the worst shot in basketball is the long two, and they'd be right, but with Jarrett Jack, it's a different story. Combine that with the fact that he's shooting a career 41.2 percent from behind the arc and he's a very underrated shooter who happens to play point guard behind one of the greatest shooters of all time.
Time for some small sample vs. large sample size stuff.
It probably isn't a coincidence five of the shots that he hits are of the pull-up jumper variety. The important thing to look at is that he doesn't start the possession with thinking that he's going to pull it from 20 feet. When the offense stagnates—be it his fault or not—he's left to create for himself and unleashes a shot that contorts his body into a slinky before the ball leaves his hand.
In this season alone, he is shooting 51 percent in shots between 16-23 feet on 3.3 shots per game, according to Hoopdata. The other players that have taken more shots and shot it at a higher clip? Rephrase: player. Chris Bosh, at 55 percent on 4.7 shots per game. Only one player this season has shot it better from the long two than Jack. Move in a little closer and Jack is shooting at a 53.4 percent clip from 10-15 feet.
In his eight seasons (counting this one) he has attempted more shots from 16-23 feet than any other shot on the floor. He has attempted more from that distance in three of the past four years. This isn' t a fluke. Jack takes a bunch of these shots, and makes a lot as well. The defense has no choice but to keep giving him these shots. It isn't as if there is a defense that is supposed to prevent long twos. Defenses are geared toward running teams off the three-point line or closing off passing lanes. They want Jack to shoot his favorite shot!
Jack has shot no lower than 40 percent from that distance in his career. To put that in perspective, even Kevin Durant has shot under 40 percent from there once. And Kobe Bryant has done it three times in the past seven seasons.
If we can agree that his outside shooting is exceptional and that he has taken more as his career has gotten along, then what else is he good at? That's perhaps the question that can also answer why the pull-up jumper is Jack's ticket in playing in the league for a long time.
According to John Hollinger's PER statistic (which caters a bit to players who shoot more and more ball-dominant) has given Jack an above-average PER (over 15) only three times in his eight seasons. He has not acquired a PER over 18 yet in his career. According to the Basketball Reference's Win Shares statistic, which gives a player credit if they are efficient offensively, Jack has totaled a Win Share of 28.1 in his seven-plus seasons. That's an average of about 31.5 wins per season, mostly a proponent of the bad teams he's played on than his actual play. So taking in his overall game, Jack is merely an average player on mostly average teams.
For his career, Jack averages 4.3 assists per game while turning it over almost twice a game (1.9) and grabbing just 2.8 boards a game. If it isn't Jack's peripheral stats that has made him such a solid player in the NBA, let's look at his defense. He currently owns a career 7.9 defensive win shares and the this year's Golden State Warriors team gives up an average of 2.2 points per 48 minutes when he is on the floor. Okay, enough mumbo-stat-jumbo.
Without owning an above-average all-around game, we can agree that it's Jack's jump shot that has propelled him into one of the leaders of the Sixth Man of the Year race. Without it, he may play more like Charles Jenkins (although he shoots long twos extremely well) than the dynamite scorer he has been.
We've seen Jack do it many times this season but his ability to stem the flow of a forthcoming run from the opposition is impeccable. His propensity of getting into the lane and leaning back after dipping his shoulder into the defender for a shot way above and behind his head is near-unblockable.
So many of those shots have been "NONONONOYES!" hero-ball buckets but little did we know that he has been doing it throughout his career. The contradictory method as to where Jack shoots is correlated to the success he's had. These things just shouldn't happen.
So while his defense, passing, or rebounding isn't anything to write home about, it is the jump shot between the arc and the free-throw line that's made Jack's living, and transformed him into the explosive scoring guard he has become today.
The man is truly a master of his craft.
That doesn't hurt either.