For Jerry Stackhouse, proving he's still got it is important

Elsa

Yeah, he wants to be an assistant coach. Yeah, he was hired to be a locker room influence, but Jerry Stackhouse can still play the game, as he's proven this week.

Jerry Stackhouse is old by Nets standards. At 38, he is by far the oldest and most experienced Net. He's nearly six years older than Keith Bogans and Reggie Evans. (Of course, on the Knicks, he would be the fifth oldest.) But like a lot of older players this season, Stackhouse is not just playing the role of assistant-coach-in-waiting or "locker room influence." He's playing ... period.

As Tim Bontemps notes, Stack hit the three-pointer in the fourth quarter Thursday that tied the game at 85. Filling in for Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks vs. the Magic in Orlando, he set the tone early in the blowout, scoring 11 first half points, matching his season high for last season.

Avery Johnson says all the right things about Stackhouse as a veteran player and the veteran player says all the rights things about his coach. He also tells Bontemps that his confidence in Johnson is a big reason he's in Brooklyn. He didn't like how things ended in Atlanta where he was barely used.

"I personally felt that I should have played a little bit more, and I didn’t want to go out with that taste in my mouth, knowing that I can still contribute and play," he told Bontemps. Of this season, he notes, "I had a great camp, and I think even before training camp even started, there was a buzz that I could still do some things. But this is not about that. All of this could change ... but I think, when it comes down to being in games like this, and having some experience I think I can provide some things."

As for that coaching apprenticeship, Scott Cacciola writes about how Stackhouse has saved the playbooks from all of his 18 seasons and has taken something from most, but not all, of the NBA coaches he's played for. "There are a few that I leave alone," he said.

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