Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark may not be spicy names, but Cavs sure could use both, Sam Amico says.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark aren’t names that will create utter bliss in the hearts of Cleveland Cavaliers fans. But they are important names, the type of names you need to win in the NBA.
Clark and Jack were introduced at a press conference at the Cavaliers’ practice facility on Wednesday. Neither has ever been an All-Star, and they’ve usually been at their best coming off the bench.
So nothing fancy here, kids.
Unless, of course, you consider two guys who have displayed a true understanding of the game a big deal.
That defines Jack and Clark, and that defines what every team could use. That’s especially the case for a team with a young core – as the Cavs have in Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and others.
Jack is 6-foot-3 and while primarily a point guard, can play either guard spot fairly well. And at 29 years old, he’s seen a lot and knows plenty about the league.
“There are two types of players in the NBA: Guys who love basketball, and guys who love the lifestyle,” Jack said, before pointing out part of the reason he signed with the Cavs is because he feels they’re the former.
When Cavs general manager Chris Grant spoke of Jack, he talked about Jack’s leadership, toughness and “playoff experience.” All of those traits count for a lot – especially the last part, considering few on this roster have tasted the postseason.
As for Clark, the Cavs envision him as a versatile athlete who can play either forward spot well. He also already knows what coach Mike Brown expects, as the two of them spent the entire 2011-12 season together with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“He’s a defensive coach,” Clark said of Brown. “So he likes me a lot.”
Jack averaged 12.9 points 45 percent shooting last season with the Warriors. He could’ve started for a lot of teams, but came off the bench behind youngsters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. So he knows the role well.
Meanwhile, Clark is 6-10 and 25 years old. He’s arrives in Cleveland (also via free agency) following a career season with the Lakers, in which he started 36 games, averaged 23 minutes, scored 7.3 points and pulled down 5.5 rebounds.
Again, maybe the numbers aren’t extraordinary, but with Irving at point guard, big free-agent acquisition Andrew Bynum at center and several others, the Cavs don’t necessarily need stat stuffers. They need guys who offer the skills expected from Jack and Clark.
And now they have them.
It may not be spicy, but spice isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, just straight-up professionals who know the game and their responsibilities are more than enough.
• The Cavs aren’t sure when a similar press conference will be held for Bynum, as his signing has yet to be made official. Both formalities are likely to take place by the middle of next week.
• Grant didn’t rule out the possibility of Irving, Waiters and Jack on the floor together at times -- although such a decision will clearly be made by Brown. “In the playoffs, you’ve seen multiple ballhandlers on the floor at the same time,” Grant said.
• The Cavs began play in the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday against the Lakers. All games are televised by NBA TV.
• With the additions of Bynum, Jack and Clark, most Cavs fans are talking about a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10.
“We feel like we have good momentum, and we're excited about that,” Grant said. “But it's also gotta come together on the court and translate into wins.”