Jun 06, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Stephen Jackson (3) reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half in game six of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Season review: Stephen Jackson


The profile
Minutes: 23.8
Points: 8.9
Rebounds: 3.9
Assists: 2.0
FG%: 40.5%
3P%: 30.6%
FT%: 81.5%

The (advanced) profile
TS%: 52.9%
USG%: 19.5%
PER: 13.1
Offensive PPP: 0.96 (94th)
Defensive PPP: 1.00 (437th)
Offensive rating (points per 100 possessions): 98
Defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions): 100

The prevailing image I’ll take away from Stephen Jackson’s season is his voracious willingness to continue shooting, attacking and rebounding in spite of his surroundings. You should expect this kind of mental strength from elite players but not from role players. Role players always take a back seat. Role players generally succumb to the pressure and delve away from their strengths, highlighting their weaknesses. That’s what happened to Danny Green. And Matt Bonner. And Tiago Splitter. The list goes on.

Jack is an outlier to this expectation. He thrives in an unsettling environment and perverse situations — though it should be noted that he struggles with poor teams. His shining moment, unsurprisingly, was in the Spurs’ final game. He didn’t allow the Thunder defense to disrupt his shot. Once he corralled the ball after Parker or Ginobili defeated the defense at the point of attack, there was no doubt. Jack was letting the ball fly. On that night, the ball and rim had a beautiful, undeniable, reciprocity. The ball was going to find the rim just like Jack was going to find a way to stem the tide and hopefully ignite the Spurs’ No. 1 offensive attack.

The latter, of course, did not happen. The former happened quite often and, on the rare instance where the ball didn’t find the twine of the net, Jackson was at the line because Oklahoma City was forced to close out quickly and abruptly. It led to a couple of fouls against a jump shooter behind the 3-point line. A cardinal sin. Even though it’s never a good idea to foul a jump shooter, there over aggressive close outs were justified because Jack could not miss. He finished with 23 points on 6-of-7 shooting. An outstanding 3.29 points per shot attempt. Looking back, I wish he could’ve taken 35 shots.

Or perhaps what I’ll remember most is his smile in the face of adversity. He was relishing the moment, basking in it and tearing apart the Thunder defense like no other San Antonio perimeter shooter could. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was to no avail but, still, the performance was indicative of his indomitable psyche.

Yes, Jack received an ill-advised technical because of his reputation. He merely gave a look to Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks. The technical infuriated me obviously. It was an act of precaution. Delving deeper, though, I believe they called the technical because they don’t understand Jack. They didn’t understand he had good intentions in this instance. They didn’t understand that, at this stage of his career, a brawl was highly unlikely. It’s a part of his maturation as a player and a person.

Maybe it’s his candor or previous transgressions that did him. But don’t let them fool you: He’s a great teammate and a valuable cog for the San Antonio. Jonathan Abrams highlighted Jackson in a brilliant extended feature for Grantland. Conveniently, it was right before his explosion in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Here’s the money quote:

    “A lot of people mistake my passion for the game with being a thug or a gangster,” he said. “I’m far from     that. I’m just a guy who come up in the hood and came from nothing and made something and hasn’t     changed. I’m still going to be in Port Arthur all summer walking around with no shoes on, eating crawfish,     barbecue, going fishing. I’m going to be the same guy, and I take pride in saying that because a lot of NBA     players are not touchable. They’re not real. But I take pride in being a regular guy that people can walk up to     and I’m not Hollywood. I want people to understand that that’s the person I am and I’m not changing for     nothing.”

Yes, he’s not changing. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

***

Performance of the year: June 6, 2012 at Oklahoma City. W 107-99.
The line: 32:04 MIN | 6-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS | -4

Is there any doubt? This was Jackson’s shining moment as the Spur this season. When the deck was stacked against San Antonio and a hostile crowd was breathing down their necks, Jack knocked down six 3-pointers and drew two fouls off 3-pointers after the defense aggressively keyed on him. Afterwards, Jack was extremely professional and he accepted the loss for what it was: a loss to a superior team.

So, what would you grade Jack’s season, Spurs fans?

Season grade: B

Other season reviews: James Anderson | DeJuan Blair | Matt Bonner | Boris Diaw | Tim Duncan | T.J. Ford | Manu Ginobili | Danny Green

Tags: Season Review Stephen Jackson

  • rtesoro440

    Sacrifices at this stage is called for. Maybe both TD and Jackson realize that the Spurs need money to be relevant. Perhaps TD after taking so much from the Spurs MUST accept a reduced amount of salary say, $12, and Jackson MUST agree to a restructured pay of $6m annually in exchange for a contract extension of 2 yrs including the current. The savings is $13m enough to sign 1 or 2 younger, longer and more aggressive free agents, like Kaman, Humphries, Clark or anyone available and suits the Spurs system. Talking of sacrifices, it must hurt to let go some of the current lineup. They were good during the regular season but faded at some point. Is the coaching staff, coach Pop, GM Buford and Mr. Holt planning to trade Splitter? They may and enter the ist round draft. It is bruited that both Bobcats and the Rockets are shopping their draft rights. In the case of the Bobcats, if true, may trade the ist round draft. Maybe just to sweeten the pot, are the Spurs ready to give Splitter, plus Bonner and Anderson (draft & trade) for Andre Dummond? In the case of the Rockets, they have many rookies in the lineup and draft pick # 14 and 16 are in play. Are the Spurs willing to give Splitter for say Zeller or Jones 111 plus, Dragic, if offered? This means 4 BIG MEN- TD, 1 from the free agency, Drummond and Zeller/Jones 111. Will this be enough to make them contenders in the western conference, and more importantly, the nba finals? I would say so. If this not enough, they can trade Blair for a high 2nd round draft maybe, Khris, Middleton, Will Barton, Evan Fournier or a point guard to compensate for the departure of Mills. It’s a thought, or just a dream? I am sure Mgnt has spend much time pondering on it. I hope they did. Changes in the lineup MUST be made. If not NOW, WHEN?

  • AirAlamo1

     @rtesoro440 I don’t know if making drastic moves is really necessary. They were only two games away from the Western Conference and if it weren’t for Oklahoma City shooting an unsustainable mark on mid-range shots, maybe the Spurs would’ve been in the Finals.