Jarrett Jack had a jumbo rubber band around his ankles.
It was green and thick, and Jack ran forward and backward the other day at the Warriors' facility, the rubber band inhibiting his movement. He ran because he's getting over a stress fracture in his right foot and he's trying to increase his explosiveness.
Jack isn't one of the two most important players on the Warriors — David Lee and Stephen Curry are.
But 6-foot-3 Jack is one reason the Warriors are a team on the rise. Last season, the Warriors had zero depth. They had starters and then they had no one, and now they have depth at all positions even though they don't have Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush.
Depth is the theme of their season. And part of that depth is Jack coming off the bench at the off guard. At the end of games, Jack takes over the point and Curry moves to the off guard and Jack runs the team, just runs it.
Add Carl Landry and Andris Biedrins — yes, Biedrins — and the Warriors win games with defense and rebounding and teamwork. They are a real team, something we haven't seen from them in a long time. Jack, whom they got in the offseason in a three-team trade, is one of the engines that makes the team go in the crisis moments of a game.
"I know even if you don't start, you're able to have an imprint on the game," Jack said. "I have grown to be able to wear different hats, so to speak, being able to play the point guard, being able to play the off guard, start, come off the bench, try to be as effective as you can. You're valuable not only in one lane."
Here is general manager Bob Myers on the 29-year-old Jack: "A lot of times you wonder what the player's mindset will be when you trade for him. It's not like we drafted him. They are forced to go to a new organization whether they like it or not. He has a maturity about him that fits with any team. He's a tough inner-city guy and he carries with him respect throughout the league — that's not given lightly in the NBA."
This is how Jack perceived the Warriors when he played against them.
"They were soft," he said. "When I say soft I don't mean, &‘Let's go out there and tussle and put up your dukes.' I mean, &‘Can they execute down the stretch? If you turn up the pressure, will they turn the ball over? When things get tight, will they fold under pressure?'
"I grew up in D.C. and it kind of made me tough in life and in basketball. If you're like — &‘Oh, my goodness, we just turned the ball over twice. Now, it's a tie game, I can't turn it over' — if you have that thought in your head, you're probably going to turn it over.
"If you're like — &‘OK, we turned it over twice, let me get this ball. I'm going to make a play.' Or, &‘I know Steph's going to make a play.' Or &‘Steph's got the ball and I've got to be over here ready to make a shot.'