The Value of Jarrett Jack

Riddle me this:

If you're Bryan Colangelo and you have $6 million in MLE to spend thanks to a fortuitous trade, do you:

a) Immediately spend it on multiple players to shore up multiple holes in your lineup;
b) Take your time and wait for deals to fall through the cracks and hopefully grab some bargains; or
c) Spend the vast majority of it on a free agent that addresses one of your major needs.

When Colangelo decided to spend his hard-fought, hard-earned MLE on a player of Jarrett Jack's reputation and ability, I was at first, enthusiastic about the move.  With Roko Ukic showing little improvement from last season during the Summer League action, and the point guard situation still very much up in the air (seriously, Smush Parker?!), the Raptors needed to shore up the position - preferrably with a player that would be a consummate professional, be able to take charge of the second unit, and perhaps most importantly, be able to play more than one position.  By adding a versatile guard to the roster like Jack, it would allow the Raptors to include Ukic in the regular rotation should he show steady improvement over the course of the year.

However, at an announced $20 million over 4 years, Jarrett Jack will not only become one of the higher paid Raptors but his addition would also bring the team's total salary committment to the point guard position (Calderon, Banks, Ukic, Douby, and Jack) to just under $20 million per year!  In a calculated move, BC offered Jack enough money to make it hard for Indiana to match. Should the Pacers decide to match the offer it would put them in a difficult salary cap situation.  That being said if Jack does wear a Raps jersey this coming season BC can't be comfortable having almost 1/3rd of the salary cap tied up in the PG position - especially when two of those guys likely won't contribute.

Many fans in Indiana (specifically those over at Indy Cornrows) have talked about how Jack has really emerged in the past year as a professional who works hard and gets after the ball.  He has been known to turn the ball over with some mental errors, but he has helped the Pacers with his toughness and willingness to attack the basket.  At 6'3", Jack is rarely at a high disadvantage when covering the other teams PG and his strength doesn't allow the opposition to run isolation and back him down into the post.  Perhaps Jack's real value to this Raptors team will be his ability to improve the play of just about everyone in the second unit. Jack is a willing distributor and can manage the floor. He did afterall, surpass TJ Ford on the depth chart last season...something Jose Calderon is all too familiar with.

Even with Jack's addition however, the Raptors still have some holes that need to be filled.  With Patrick O'Bryant showing why he's been a 7 foot door stop for most of his career, the Raptors must find a way to shore up their front court.  With only Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, and Reggie Evans as suitable rotational players the Raptors are missing some size and depth.  If the Raptors cannot come to terms with another big then signing Jack just isn't enough.

Should Tuesday roll around and we find out that JJ is the newest Raptor I will be satisfied with the move but it's going to be too early to break out the champagne. Rather, I'll be looking to see what Colangelo's next move will be.


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