Jarrett Jack has never played for the Sacramento Kings. However, the 30-year-old veteran has plenty of ties to the organization.
In his first three seasons in the NBA, Travis Outlaw was a teammate in Portland. For part of the 2010-11 season , he played with Marcus Thornton in New Orleans. But of the current Kings Jack knows best, head coach Michael Malone and forwards Carl Landry and Rudy Gay probably top the list.
Jack, Landry and Malone were all key members of the last year’s Golden State Warriors team that made it through to the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Prior to their run in Oakland, they were also members of the New Orleans Hornets during the 2010-11 season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard has nothing but high praise for Malone. Before yesterday’s game against the Kings, the eighth-year veteran described Malone as “tremendous” and as someone that encouraged him to reach his full potential.
He’s somebody that pushed me every day, never let me settle. But also another aspect about him was he’s a brilliant basketball mind. I guess him being around the game from such a young age with his dad, he knew how to relate to players. He treated you like a man, but still gave you criticism when it was necessary. That’s the thing I remember about him the most. I have a lot of close personal friends on Sacramento, guys like Rudy Gay, Carl Landry, Marcus Thornton, (and) since they’ve all been under his tutelage, they say he’s been nothing but a joy to play under.
Jack also spoke highly of Landry, noting the veteran forward’s ability to bail out his team in an offensive pinch.
Obviously, (he’s) a low post presence, instant offense off the bench. He’s a guy that you can isolate whenever things kind of get a little haywire and (you can) use him to get easy baskets. You know, I didn’t want to see anybody hurt. I was sad for him that he had to go through a little surgery. I just saw him out there on the court, getting some reps up, so hopefully he’ll be back in action soon.
As far as his relationship with Gay, Jack regards the 27-year-old veteran to be one of his closest friends in the league. They’ve become so close in fact that Jack served as one of the groomsmen in Gay’s wedding last summer. He and Gay are surprised at how close they’ve become, considering they’ve never played together in the NBA. But they’ve found a lot in common with each other, including their roots in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.
Gay has played at an efficient clip since joining the Kings last month. Jack thinks that part of Gay’s individual success is due to his new head coach’s ability to put Gay in a position to succeed.
Coach Malone, one of his strengths is that he’s a tremendous X’s and O’s guy. And he does a good job of putting people in places where you can be put in isolation situations or put in movement situations so that you can have the defense closing out on you and you can take advantage of it. Not to say that wherever he was before, they weren’t that. But I know from first-hand experience, Coach Malone is really, really very well-versed in that area and I think that’s definitely paying dividends for him.