With Deron Williams gone, Jarrett Jack is the new floor general — and one of the more prominent faces — in Brooklyn.
Jack has recently been working out with teammate Joe Johnson in Atlanta in preparation for the season. But Tuesday morning, he took a four-hour trip from his home in New Jersey to the team’s Hamptons Basketball Camp Powered by DRIBBL to speak with campers.
185 kids attended the morning session, according to a team official, and Jack closed it with a speech about his journey to the league, including earning his degree from Georgia Tech last summer. He also took questions from the campers, including one intrepid young reporter who asked him who his least favorite coach to play with was. (Jack respectfully declined, instead saying his favorite coach was Lionel Hollins.)
Later, Jack addressed the idea that the Nets might decline following Williams’s departure. According to ESPN’s real plus-minus numbers, Jack ranked 70th out of 83 qualifying point guards in on-court impact, and 79th in “wins above replacement.”
“We don’t have to just go out there and say, ‘Let’s prove them wrong,'” Jack said. “Collectively we’re going to go out there with goals, and individually we’re going to help answer some of these questions we have going on.”
Afterwards, Jack sat down with The Brooklyn Game to discuss his role with the Nets, his poor plus-minus numbers last year, and a rumor about a rapper dropping buckets on him back in the day. Questions in bold.
Back in May, French Montana said he scored 30 points on you in an AAU game. Is that true?
Jack: I’ve never played against him in my life.
Why do you think he’d say that?
I don’t know. Where — I guess this was growing up? Riiight. And he said his game was the flashy game, with the dunks and the crossovers, right? Riiight. What else would his game be like, right?
Have you played against celebrities in the past?
No. I’m actually about to play with Ludacris (in a celebrity game). But you’re talking about a real game? No, because no celebrities would play with us like that. You know? Like, growing up I know I played against some football guys that used to play when they were younger.
But to French Montana — I’ve never played against him, one, two, he never and would have never scored 30 in anything. I don’t even know what team he would’ve played on. Because you’ve got to think, right? One, it clearly wasn’t in high school game. So it had to have been an AAU game. We all know the teams in New York. He clearly didn’t play for Riverside, and I played on the Nike Circuit. So he didn’t play for that. And the only Nike team was Riverside Church! He didn’t play for them. So I don’t know where and who he thought he was playing against.
And of course, he wouldn’t have had 19 (points). He had to have 30. Come on, man. Let’s be serious.
Is this the first time you heard that?
Man, I saw that he said that in an interview to SLAM Magazine. I’ve never seen him. I’ve never seen him before. So I’m like, why he would say that, who knows.
As far as the team this season, just with everything that’s happened this offseason. Do you think —
*chuckles* French Montana.
I had to ask!
I know. I would love to see him imagine that, though.
Do you think your role has changed on this team?
I know I definitely have got to be more vocal then I was in the past. I was vocal, but that part of it. I don’t know, it’s weird now, like I’m one of the old guys on the team now. Me and Joe are the only guys in our 30s. That’s kind of funny to me. But other than that, nah, not really. Just setting the table, attacking the paint, setting the pace for the type of brand of basketball that we’re going to play, that’s pretty much all it is.
Because you are slated to start, you’re probably going to be playing more minutes with a lot of scorers. Joe, Brook —
Thad, even Bojan can shoot. You’ve always been a scorer first. Is it your job more to set the table now, or still just to run the game the way you’ve always played it?
It’s to do whatever’s necessary. I think your job as a point guard is always to assess situations. If it calls for you to go in and score, you do that. If it calls for you to make plays for others, then you do that as well. So it’s just what it calls for. It might be some games where I have to score. Some games where I’ve got to be a facilitator. That’s just the name of basketball.
Do you know about your plus-minus numbers from last year?
They were among the worst in the NBA. Is that something that — is there a way to account for that? I guess as far as numbers like that, do you look at those advanced numbers?
The analytics and stuff? Nah. Nobody, no players really look at that though. I mean, I think we’re definitely more familiar with plus-minus than the other stuff, but I don’t even know what the other analytic categories are. So, no. I don’t know if we really look at it.
But to your point, I mean, plus-minus does have to get better. From that standpoint, we struggled at times coming off the bench as far as keeping the game going and momentum going in our favor, so that’s definitely something we’ve got to grab a hold onto and make sure it turns out better.
When do you think you’re going to have all the guys in the gym? First day of camp?
Nah, we’ll be in there before that. Probably like, the 15th, 20th, that range.
(Note: some wording slightly edited for clarity.)