July 12 was a big day for the Cleveland Cavailers. That day the team announced it had come to terms with veteran free agent guard Jarrett Jack and small forward Earl Clark.
The Jack signing, especially, was hailed as a coup for team general manager Chris Grant, who pried the eight-year veteran away from Golden State. Jack chose the Cavs over the Warriors, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks and was brought on board to provide a veteran presence, plus much-needed scoring punch, to the Cavs’ second unit.
He also brought with him a reputation as a “closer,” one of those players who loves to take the big shot in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
In 74 games with the Warriors last season, Jack averaged 12.9 points per game while connecting on over 40-percent of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
In the NBA Playoffs last season, Jack was a dangerous player. In the Warriors’ 12 post-season games he played 35.5 minutes per contest, scoring 17.2 points on 50.6 percent shooting.
He seemed like a perfect fit…a scoring guard that could carry the Cleveland offense while starting point guard Kyrie Irving was on the bench, and put points on the board when on the floor with Irving late in the game.
Five games into his Cavaliers career, Jack has yet to hit his stride. In fact, he has been downright awful. This is a staggering number…in five games, Jack is an abysmal minus-41. While Jack has been on the floor the Cavaliers have been out-scored by 41 points. In only five games this is a brutal number.
Cleveland’s guards as a unit have been sub-par as the guards on the roster are a combined minus-28 this season. Irving, who Cavaliers fans expected to move into the “elite point guard” category this season, is minus-7 himself. His shooting has been troubling (he’s shooting a flat 40 percent from the floor, a career low, and has gotten to the line just 23 times) and he’s averaging 3.4 turnovers per contest.
Jack was brought to Cleveland to give the team what Daniel Gibson, Wayne Ellington and Shaun Livingston were unable to provide last season, a second-unit guard that could be counted on to extend a lead instead of just protect one. That has not been the case.
While it’s early and there is plenty of basketball yet to be played, Jack’s start is troubling. In the preseason Jack was shut down for 10 days with soreness in his knee…is he fully recovered from that? Meanwhile, rookie Matt Dellavedova filled in quite capably for Jack in the preseason games he missed. It might be worth giving the St. Marys alum a longer look to see if he can give the team what Jack hasn’t thus far.
While it’s early in the 2013-14 season, it’s never too early to make adjustments and figure out why things aren’t working. So far Jack has not worked.