[Editor's note: Prior to the start of the regular season on Oct. 31, I will be previewing every player on the Spurs' roster, in no particular order. Alphabetical order is lame anyway.]
A 12-year veteran from Butler County Community College — which I literally just heard for the first time — Stephen Jackson has cultivated one of the most unique personalities in basketball. His demeanor may ward off most people but his candid and oftentimes refreshing adherence to his teammates, rather than his own desires, make him one of the most entertaining interviews and likable players on the Spurs roster.
Jackson also thrives in pressure situations and and if anyone is truly nasty — in a metaphorical sense — it would be Jack. Trading Richard Jefferson, who never acclimated himself to the Spurs, for Jack, whose comfort level in the organization is apparent, was a no-brainer.
Jackson has appeared in nearly 800 regular season games with the New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats. He is a one-time NBA champion.
Overview: Jackson’s 26-game stint with the Milwaukee Bucks was his least productive stretch of his career. He rebounded, shot and created for his teammates at a below-average rate. Nearly two-thirds of his attempts resulted from assists, indicating a declining ability to create for his own shot and, subsequently, spot-up from the perimeter.
Jackson was a different player in San Antonio. His defensive rebounding rate, especially, was particularly encouraging. In an entire season, it is reasonable to expect the 34-year-old to improve further.
Role: In smaller lineups, Jackson is long enough to defend some power forwards In transient bursts. Placing Jackson at power forward, rather than his more natural position of small forward, gives the Spurs’ backcourt — namely Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker — added space to create shots.
As for the pick-and-roll, which are integral in the Spurs offense, he is not a huge threat. If he’s used sparingly in pick-and-pop situations, namely to take advantage of bulkier forwards, he could be effective. The majority of his minutes, however, will be behind Kawhi Leonard, where his versatility fits snugly alongside a traditional lineup.
Future: The Spurs like Jackson. Jackson enjoys playing in San Antonio. The economic reality of the NBA, though, may prevent Jackson from staying long-term. With his $10.06 million salary expiring following the season, the Spurs may use his contract as an asset in potential trades.