The time has come to say good-bye to Jarrett Jack. Jack was a great fit for this specific Warriors team. His value to this squad was three-fold: 1) he could be on the court alongside Stephen Curry because he was skilled enough to run the point, but big enough that opposing wings could not abuse him in the post; 2) as a back-up point guard, he could score well enough to provide some punch to an otherwise lackluster second unit; and 3) he had all the intangibles the team could possibly hope for: He was a leader, he was willing to come off the bench, he was great with fans/the media, etc. As a numbers guy, I think off-court factors like these are often overblown, but Jack’s impact last season in these ways was undeniable, even to me.
However, it just wasn’t going to make sense to bring Jack back this off-season. His salary was simply not going to fit into our long-term plans. This is extra frustrating, considering that we wouldn’t have even had to "overpay" for him. Even something like a 3 year, $22 million deal—which he completely deserves, based on his play—would have stretched this team’s budget too far. Tough to say good-bye to a team leader and major contributor, but it just wasn’t going to work out.
That’s where the brilliance of the Iguodala deal comes in. I repeat: to get the most out of Steph Curry, we needed that player on the roster who was big enough to defend wings, but skilled enough to run the offense, allowing Steph to play off the ball for significant stretches of games. In this way, Iguodala essentially makes Jarrett Jack redundant. We no longer have to consider re-signing Jack. I wish him nothing but the best, but his time here is done.
It’s tough to say good-bye to Brandon Rush, who never fully got to show what he was capable of in a Warriors uniform. But he’s young, talented, and once again playing for a contract this year. Another guy most of us will wish nothing but the best as his career continues elsewhere.
On a related note, as great as it would have been to keep Brandon Rush, there simply weren’t minutes for him in the rotation. This team is now stacked around the perimeter. This means fewer minutes for guys like Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green, but we need to keep perspective. I’m already sick of those people saying "We shouldn’t have signed Iguodala! Green needs more minutes! He’s gonna be a good player!!" Are you guys serious? You would rather have Draymond Green in the game than Andre Iguodala? Despite the young players on this roster, the Warriors are built to win now. Andre Iguodala gives us a much better chance to do that.
Think about the defensive upgrade the Warriors just made. No offense to Jarrett Jack, but we all know he was a liability on that end of the floor. This move makes perimeter defense one of this team’s strengths. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when Iguodala is in the final year of this big contract, but right now, I’m ecstatic.
And now, all the ifs. If Steph can continue his emergence into the national spotlight; if Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and the other youngsters continue to develop; if David Lee can bounce back from his hip injury; if Andrew Bogut can provide more than just the flashes of inside presence he showed last year; if we can find a backup big man to fill out the rotation; if we can stay healthy; and if all of these pieces fit together as well as they appear to, then we’re in for one hell of a year in the Bay.
And one more if: if this management group continues to make all the right moves, the Warriors’ future is bright, not just in the short-term, but the long-term as well.