The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.
No. 82 | Jarrett Jack
Games Played with Blazers: 240 Regular Season, 0 Postseason
*PTS: 9.5| AST: 4.0 | FG%: 44.3 | 3PT%: 33.2
*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland
Joined Club: 2005 NBA Draft, selected 22nd overall
Departed Club: July 2008 traded with Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush to the Indiana Pacers for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu
Place in History: The 2005 NBA Draft won’t be remembered alongside 1984, when the Blazers selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, or 2007 when they took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. It showcased one of the more questionable decisions in Portland’s tarnished draft history, however. Holding the third overall pick with future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul still on the board (along with future All-Star Deron Williams), the Blazers traded away their selection for the 6th and 27th selections. With the 6th pick they’d pick high school sharpshooter Martell Webster. They’d parlay the 27th pick into Denver’s 23rd, taking a combo guard named Jarrett Jack.
Jack was the ultimate utility player. He could score, shoot from mid-range, not embarrass himself at the arc, dribble, distribute, and defend. He didn’t shine in any one of these areas; he provided a multi-pronged threat, the silver spork of Portland’s backcourt. He came out of the gate a little shaky, but still averaged an impressive 2.2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’d equal that his sophomore season while increasing his minutes, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, and overall assist totals as Portland’s starting point guard. It was a big assignment for a young player, but Jack never flinched from it. He topped 20 points eight times, twice scoring 30. The Blazers had a find on their hands.
Jack’s career in Portland might have been long, but he got squeezed between the vice of Brandon Roy ascending above him and a pair of potential replacements in Steve Blake and Sergio Rodriguez ascending below. Rodriguez was a better ball-handler, Blake a better shooter. With Roy rounding into All-Star form and LaMarcus Aldridge demanding more touches, the Blazers didn’t need another dribble-oriented player in the starting backcourt. They moved their Jack-of-all-trades to Indiana for a rebounder in Ike Diogu and bench-scoring powerhouse Jerryd Bayless.
Jack would go on to a 13-year NBA career, becoming one of the most accomplished and durable off-the-bench players of his generation before injuries finally slowed him down in 2015. He always shot well inside the arc, averaged a bunch of assists, and scored wherever needed. Quite a few times over the next decade, the Blazers might have wished they had him back, particularly after knee injuries claimed Roy’s career.
In tribute to being under-appreciated during his time in Portland, as result of circumstance and roster composition, and in tribute to what he became, Jarrett Jack makes the 82nd slot in our countdown of Trail Blazers players and influential figures.
Trail Blazers highlights are hard to come by for JJ, but enjoy watching what he did become.
Discuss your thoughts and memories of Jarrett Jack below, and check back every day as we continue the countdown to No. 1.