Former Raptor Jarrett Jack thriving in veteran role with the Warriors

Jarrett Jack has been crucial for the Warriors this season. - USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing for five teams in his eight-year NBA career, Jarrett Jack appears to have found a home in Golden State where he has played a significant role in their rise to relevance.

In professional sports, journeyman is a label generally given to players who bounce from team to team and go largely unnoticed by the average fan.

To call Warriors' backup point guard Jarrett Jack a journeyman may be a tad misleading. He has played for five teams during his eight-year NBA career, which certainly qualifies him for that distinction. What is interesting about Jack however is that despite beginning just about every stint with a new team in a reserve role, he ended up starting a significant amount of games at some point during each stop.

Jack began his career in Portland where he started just four games during his rookie year. The next season, he started all of the 79 games he played. In his third campaign, he was moved back to a reserve role before being traded to Indiana where the trend continued as he began his fourth season in the league as a reserve and wound up starting 53 games.

The following season, Jack signed with the Raptors to back up Jose Calderon, but again and challenged for the starting position.

Calderon chalks up Jack's effectiveness in Toronto -- as well as his other stops in the league -- as a function of his ability to be consistent and do the little things his team needs in order to help them get the win.

"He's a complete player," Calderon said. "He can play different positions. He can play one [or] he can play two. He can handle the ball, he can see the ball really well. You can count on him to go out there and do the job you need to. That was the key [for] us, he was a really consistent guy. [He did] the right things, [he] can play defense too -- in different positions. He is a kind of all around whatever-you-need-him-to-do type player."

After spending just over a season with the Raptors, Jack was moved to New Orleans where he backed up Chris Paul for a year and then became the fulltime when Paul was traded to the Clippers.

Jack's ability to work his way into a starting lineup is something that is rare amongst players that bounce around the league the way he has.

This is something that Jack attributes to his hard working mindset and willingness to be a leader on the floor.

"Just trying to be productive, first and foremost, " Jack said. "I don't think you can do anything unless you play hard. I try to lead by example and vocally. I just let my talent take over after that."

Jack's talent certainly has taken over and it was a big reason why he was able to post career highs in points and assists last season.

It was his performance with the Hornets that caught the attention of Warriors head coach Mark Jackson and the rest of the Warrior management. They were impressed enough with Jack that they decided to pull the trigger on a deal in the offseason that sent Jack to Golden State, making him their number one bench option.

"Last year we were searching for answers when Steph went down," Mark Jackson said after a recent game in Toronto. "This year, credit to our ownership and our management, we went and got a legitimate back up guard that's as good as any backup guard in this league, that has got the ability to start. [He] has toughness, has [an] ability to lead and he's not afraid of the moment."

Despite coming off of the bench once again in Golden State, there is something different about his role on the team this season. Not only is Jack playing a significant amount of minutes on a nightly basis -- and at times, playing crunch time minutes next to Stephen Curry -- he is in position, for the first time in his career, to play on a playoff team.

A part of Jack's success thus far this season has been his ability to mesh with head coach and former All-Star point guard Mark Jackson.

"It's been great. [he is] A former point guard, a guy who's not too far removed from the game himself. Me and him think [alike] a lot," Jack said. "When I come to him with an idea or he says an idea, we [are] kind of thinking the same thing a lot of the time and that's really good, especially when you have to be an extension of him on the floor."

Jackson has had an impact on this team, but his contributions are far from the only factor in the Warriors' success this season. According to Jack, the relationship each player has with one another is something that he had not previously experienced in his NBA career.

"I just think the relationship that everyone has 1-through-15 is different," Jack said. "I think everybody has a personable relationship with one another. I've been on other teams as to where these three guys that hang out versus these three guys and these four guys - it's not like that,"

"We really have a collective unit; we have a camaraderie that you can't fake at all. And it's just something that's authentic and I think when you're playing with one of your friends or a guy you see as your friend or you care about, you tend to go that extra mile for him when you're on the court."

That camaraderie that Jack spoke of is unmistakable when watching the Warriors play. Aside from their ability to run to and shoot on the offensive end of the floor, the 2012-2013 incarnation of the Warriors has been characterized by hard work and the ability of their reserves to step in play bigger roles when necessary.

This is an aspect of the team that Jack has played a major role in. He is averaging 13 points and 5.8 assists in less than 29 minutes per game this season and has started on four separate occasions, filling in for an injured Stephan Curry.

"It's not a situation I'm foreign to," said Jack. "I've been in it plenty of times before, so I just try to be ready when my number is called and just try to be thrive in that role."

Call Jack a journeyman if you like, but that moniker is a reflection of his ability to establish himself as a player that can help any team regardless of the role he plays. This season, he has done just that - accepting his role as reserve and thriving in it for a team that has the potential to make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.

For Jack, this is business as usual. This time though, because of the team's success, people are starting to take notice.

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