In 45 minutes, Stephen Jackson brought to the table everything intriguing about him. What I love most about Jackson -- a trait he shares with guys like Matt Barnes and with Raja Bell -- is his sheer professionalism. What I mean is that underneath whatever facade happens to be presented, I sense a passion for excellence at the same time as I sense a near-arrogant confidence that this man has been through a lot in his life and knows exactly how to go about his business. Those three players get very different results from their play, but I also believe it's the kind of thing that leads teammates and coaches to say Jackson is a fantastic guy they love having on the team.
However, it's undeniable that Jackson's charisma swings both ways. If he truly wants to get back on a winning team right now, we're on borrowed time, and the front office had better be fielding calls from any and all suitors for his services. From the glass-half-full perspective, Jackson is a 38-Minute Player, as my co-worker put it. He and Gerald Wallace can both be penciled in for 38 minutes a night, and with no Raja or VladRad to appease with playing time, that means the rotation should be tight and clear. Say his beef was primarily with Don Nelson, and not with losing, per se. S-Jax and Crash on the wings is not the kind of dynamo a superstar will want to join via free agency, but it is a good enough core that should we somehow manage to acquire a star point guard, center, or power forward via trade or draft to join the incumbent group, we can start salivating about making noise in the playoffs. Someday.
-- The whole "Tyson Chandler getting in foul trouble" thing is getting kind of old. This BDL post from last year sums up the issue nicely: Coaches lift players because of the threat of them getting in foul trouble. The point of avoiding foul trouble is to avoid having to remove your players from the game, so to avoid foul trouble these coaches (say it with me) remove their players from the game. It will make your head hurt if you think about it too long, but, basically, I don't blame Chandler for getting into foul trouble (which he does) as much as I blame LB for foolishly failing to use Chandler for the most minutes he can, given that foul trouble.
-- 15-26 from the free throw line. Ugh. Lee.
-- D.J. Augustin's woes continued. 4 assists in 13 minutes is good, but 1-4 shooting and getting pushed around on defense is not. Does anyone remember what Damon Stoudemire did on defense? I know he wasn't all that good, but Mighty Mouse was a starter in the league for a while.
-- Ronald Murray finally caught fire. 31 points on 21 shots kept the Cats in the game, and Murray was getting point guard duty in early crunch time.
-- Larry Brown played an eight man rotation. I wish Gerald Henderson had played at least a few minutes, but it's hard to convince Brown it wasn't in his best interest to play with his new toy (Jackson) or play the hot hand (Murray). In any event, the subs made sense, for once.
-- Boris Diaw: 10-13 from the field. Now, let's start working on those rebounds a bit.