clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Burning Hot Q's: The Point Guard Battle

This is the first feature in our 'Burning Hot Q's' segment in which we look to briefly discuss some of the hot questions heading into training camp and preseason. So you'll hear our side. Let's hear yours!

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The loss of Deron Williams has it's positives and negatives. For team cohesiveness and other issues pertaining to the team's culture, it's great that he's gone. Still, pundits discuss the negative impact this will have ON the court for the Brooklyn Nets, who are now stuck with Jarrett Jack as their starting point guard.

This, by far, is the Nets' biggest concern.

1. Jarrett Jack

Unlike most teams around the league, Lionel Hollins and the Nets don't believe (that much) in analytics. Jack's season average of 12 points per game last season was misleading to how he really facilitated the offense. However, it didn't kill the Nets because Jack was the backup, like most of his career. Therefore he would sometimes serve as a scoring threat and/or energy boost. As a starter last season, Jack averaged 15.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals (3.3 turnovers) on 45.8 percent shooting (better than Deron Williams, it should be noted.).

But this is where the problem lies.

Jack isn't your prototypical point guard. He focused on creating shots for himself, while failing to distribute the rock to the players that needed the ball. Hence why he's only averaged four assists over the span of his career. As you've probably heard many times, the Nets were much worse with Jack on the floor. Their offensive rating dropped from 106.5 to 99 when Jack was on the floor.

The simple things:

1) Jack, a shoot-first point guard, takes a contested fadeaway jump shot with 16 seconds left on the shot clock  Not one pass.

2) Hard to tell in the video, but Mirza Teletovic shifts to the middle of the court for a wide open three pointer. Jack doesn't even look his way. It's just a head down, selfish and poor excuse of an offense.

This is where things get frustrating. It's something we rarely saw with Deron Williams, but so often saw with Jarrett Jack. Actually, if anything, fans were frustrated that D-Will didn't shoot enough!  But there was other issues with Williams, like his relationship with teammates.

Pick your poison, though.

Jack has redeeming qualities that Deron Williams never had: leadership. Sure Williams would facilitate the offense at a better, more reasonable pace, but Jack has the respect of the team and coaches. In fact, he even has the respect of MVP Steph Curry, whom said, "The leader I learned from the most? Probably Jarrett Jack had a big influence when he was here."

He's been a huge influence on so many young players around the league and that's something the Nets are going to need this season in order to be successful. They have a bunch of guys that have a lot to prove, and now we can add Jack to that list.

John Schuhmann, one of Jack's biggest critics in the media put it perfectly by saying, "Jack isn't on Williams' level as a point guard, but Williams isn't on Jack's level as a leader."

Take it from this quote from Jack over the summer. It's nice to see your leader implement a positive culture associated with Brooklyn basketball. It should mean something to play in Brooklyn:

"We want other people to understand what it means to be part of Brooklyn basketball. You can't wait until October if you want to be a special team. There's going to have to be things you sacrifice, your personal time, to become one of those teams."

The questions loom, though.

Lionel Hollins is giving Jack the keys to the kingdom this year. Jack's No. 1 attribute is his leadership. But in order to be a leader, you must adjust to your personnel and figure out a way to make it work by finding ways to win. And judging from Jack's notorious +/- numbers, the only way this thing is going to work out is if he coughs up the rock to the guys who get paid to do the scoring. He's got plenty of weapons in Brook LopezJoe JohnsonThaddeus Young, and Bojan Bogdanovic in the starting lineup. It's up to him to let them earn their pay.

We know Lionel Hollins likes Jarrett Jack. But now it's time for Lionel to lay down the law and stick it in his head that it's time for him to facilitate. Now that he's no longer fighting for a starting spot, maybe Jack will recognize the role needed in order to be a success this upcoming season in Brooklyn.

You lose skill in Williams, but gain leadership and camaraderie  in Jack. We'll see which works better for Brooklyn.

2. Shane Larkin

He's expected to backup Jarrett Jack this year, but people have their doubts, most notably his former GM of the 17-win Knicks. Despite playing just two seasons, the 5'11" point guard has gotten some flack over his inability to play in the triangle offense.

"Unfortunately," Jackson said, "Shane hasn't grown any since the start of the season."Larkin, a pick & roll point guard, fits the Nets' style much more than the Knicks' triangle offense, one that's been criticized a few times before.

But Larkin doesn't buy into the negative comments. Instead, he embraces them and understands that the situation clearly wasn't right for him. At 22 years old, why can't he strive in a system that's cut out for his style of play?

Last season he averaged 6.2 points and 3.0 assists in 24 minutes per game. As of right now, we think he'll backup Jack, but there are more indications that Donald Sloan may seriously jump him in the rotation...

3. Donald Sloan

Sloan is a player you root for.

After going undrafted back in 2010, Sloan has worked his tail off to get where he is today. He started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings. They let him go after a non-guaranteed deal and ever since, he's been another journeyman point guard in the NBA. Since 2010, Sloan has played for four different teams with a career average of five points per game.

Billy King liked what he saw in Sloan in his impressive season with the Pacers. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.6 assists in 21 minutes per game. He was able to show capability of becoming a dependable backup point guard with a ton of upside.

At 27 years old, the risk and reward of signing Sloan might be glorified as the season goes on. There's always the possibility that Shane Larkin doesn't live up to expectations. If that's the case, then you can be sure you'll be seeing a whole lot of Donald Sloan this season.

4. Ryan Boatright

Another undrafted point guard for the Nets with a whole lot to prove, his chances of being on the final roster are looking dimmer as camp approaches.

Boatright was a stud for the UConn Huskies in his four-year tenure there, something Billy King really values in young players. In his senior year at UConn, Boatright averaged 17.4 points per game on 41 percent shooting from 3-pt. territory. He's certainly an offensive threat, but with four point guards on the roster, nobody can be sure what the Nets will do with the former Huskie.


Having solid point guard depth in the NBA can be crucial to your teams success. The point guard is the NBA's equivalent of a QB in the NFL, so if Jack and the crew can't figure it out and lead the pact, we might be in for a very long season. They have some weapons around them. Now it's their turn to figure out a way to be facilitators on the court and make this thing work.

So, what do you guys think about the uncertain PG battle?