Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jack

A few posts back, I mentioned that the Dante Cunningham Blazers autograph that I got from The Basketball Card Blog was my second certified Blazers autograph in my entire collection. Wait a second... I didn't mention it? I need to stop writing posts in my mind and start committing them to text as soon as they pop into my head. In any case, this post is about the first certified Blazers auto that has ever come into my possession.

I was a fan of Jarrett Jack from the outset. I was actually familiar with him (in name mostly) from his college days because someone with the last name Jack just stuck out to me even though I don't really follow college basketball all that closely. I ended up catching the Blazers home opener in person during Jack's rookie season and watched him sprint out for a breakaway dunk. The thoughts raced into my head as he headed towards the hoop. Can this guy dunk? Will this guy dunk? It was a great moment, and a pretty entertaining game in what ended up being a very dreadful Blazers season. Portland won just 21 games in Nate McMillan's first season as Blazers coach. They'd end up hitting the lottery hard next season, positioning themselves to grab Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge who have helped shape the franchise as we know it today.

Jack became my favorite player initially. After a couple of years, he became one of the most vocal and spirited leaders of a young team on the rise. The problem, for Jarrett Jack, is that he was anointed the tag of "combo guard" and had a penchant for careless turnovers at crucial times. This was usually a forgivable side effect of a running team, but McMillan's teams in the Brandon Roy era were not running teams and Jack began to be a scapegoat for all of the team's ballhandling issues.

Jack spent last season with Indiana after being involved in a draft day trade for Jerryd Bayless and is now the starting point guard for the Toronto Raptors. His shooting percentages have skyrocketed. I'd trade him straight up for Jerryd Bayless in a heartbeat. Bayless has a knack for going straight to the basket to produce points and has some room to grow, but Jarrett Jack does pretty much everything Bayless does - only better.

I only paid a couple of bucks for the autographed card. Blazers cards are outrageously overpriced in this area, but once someone becomes a former-Blazer, they almost immediately hit the bargain bin. I need to take advantage of this more.

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