Jarrett Jack has 10 years and eight NBA seasons on Dennis Schroder.
The Hawks brought in the veteran point guard in part to mentor the newly anointed starter, but don’t expect the basketball knowledge to flow one way.
“We are teammates,” Jack told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m sure I’m going to teach him some things. I’m sure he’s going to teach me some things. Being a leader or lending a helping hand is never based on your birthday. You can be a young guy leading a bunch of older guys. Or it can be somewhere in the middle. It’s something I’ve always preached. It doesn’t matter the years of service you have in the league. If you see something that is necessary to speak up on, leading by example or whatever, don’t let it be regulated by just one person. We’ll do this by committee. If we do this, it will show how committed we all are to this upcoming season with everybody willing to lend a helping hand if necessary.”
The Hawks promoted the 22-year-old Schroder to starting point guard when they traded Jeff Teague this summer. The team is counting on Schroder to mature and handle increased responsibilities. Jack was signed in the offseason despite coming on a torn ACL that might limit him early in the season. The 32-year-old Jack is a veteran of 11 NBA seasons.
In his three NBA seasons, Schroder has played with a starting center in Al Horford that could stretch the floor and developed a 3-point shot under coach Mike Budenholzer. Horford left via free agency and the Hawks signed Dwight Howard, a more traditional center. Off screens, Horford was more of a pick-and-pop player and Howard will be a pick-and-roll player. Jack can help Schroder with that adjustment with his experience playing with big men, including Brook Lopez the past two seasons with the Nets.
“I think me and Dennis will do a good job of keeping everybody involved, especially a guy like Dwight who demands so much attention,” Jack said. “If we get teams doubling him and concentrating on his post-ups, that will allow for more opportunities for guys and kick-out 3s or penetrating driving lanes. I just think it will be the best of both worlds.
“There are different ways to get the ball in the most feared area which is the paint. Having a guy like Dwight, who most nights doesn’t have a guy who meets his physical attributes, forces a lot of team defenses to collapse on him. Getting the ball in there with post-up and pick-and-roll situations is pretty much the same difference. I’m sure we’ll use that to our advantage.”
Jack said he has not been told a specific role that will be expected of him. He said Budenholzer told him that he will let players decide their roles on the court. Jack is just fine with the competition. The Hawks also signed Malcolm Delaney, who played five seasons overseas. He can play both guard positions. While Delaney might be more of a shooting guard, he’ll likely see minutes at backup point guard especially early in the season.
Jack said it is yet to be determined just how the Hawks will be different with Schroder running the show rather than Teague.
“I think we are going to find that out,” Jack said of the difference. “Being thrusted into the starting lineup is a little bit of a different thing. Clearly, I haven’t played with this group yet. I’m sure the style of play will be similar – penetrating, kicking for a lot of 3s. I think it will be somewhat different now that we have Dwight and a more traditional big guy down on the block rather than Dennis playing with the ball more. I don’t know if it will be more of a post-up focus to get (Howard) involved on a night-by-night basis. We’ll just see.”
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