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Evolution of Jack a slow process

Evolution of Jack a slow processIt is in Jarrett Jack's nature to be a leader in the manner of someone who takes charge and makes others better by cajoling or yelling or whatever it takes.

It is not in his nature to be selfish, to take care of himself first at the expense of others.

And therein is the conundrum facing the Raptors' backup point guard.

Coach Jay Triano, mindful of needing an offensive catalyst with the team's second unit, wants Jack to get going offensively the minute he hits the court.

Drumming the request into Jack's head since training camp began, it's been met with some resistance.

Not because Jack doesn't want to or can't be the player his coach wants him to be, but because the idea of looking out for No. 1 runs contrary to his style.

But for the Raptors to be successful, it's who Jack has to become.

"It's tough," the point guard admitted after Toronto dropped a sloppy 124-112 decision to the Houston Rockets at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. "It's not something I do as a first nature. That's what pre-season's for.

"I'm trying to work on that new role, trying to be as aggressive as possible and at the same time get my teammates involved as well."

But it does look as if Jack's getting it. He had seven points and nine assists in the loss but spurred a solid second quarter. He had a couple of nice assists in transitions and made both shots he took in his best 10-minute stretch of the pre-season.

"I think what it is, he's become familiar with the guys that he's out there on the floor with and he had real good rhythm with our guys," Triano said. "He had good movement, good pressure, passed the ball and shared the ball."

The 6-foot-3 Jack, one of the team's significant off-season acquisitions, is a big key to what Toronto wants to accomplish this season.

The backup point guard's play was at times atrocious last season, inconsistent at best, but the presence of a five-year veteran to lead the second group is huge.

He, Marco Belinelli, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson and Andrea Bargnani were the quintet that looked by far the best of any fivesome Triano trotted out on a night where the Raptors let the Rockets shoot 56 per cent from the floor.

And even with scorers like Bargnani and Belinelli on the court with him, Jack did what his coach wanted and asserted himself offensively. He shot only 3-for-11 from the floor on the night but the key point for Triano is that he took the shots and pressed the issue.

"I like it," said Jack. "Who wouldn't want to be told they've pretty much got the green light? But I don't want go out there and seem like I'm pressing or forcing the issue.

"I want to do it within the scheme of the offence and also try to get my teammates involved as well."

Except for the energy generated by Jack and the second unit, the Raptors looked for all the world like a tired group finishing back-to-back games and in dire need of a day off.

They let the Rockets get loose on the perimeter to make 12-of-23 three-pointers (including an 8-for-9 night behind the arc from Shane Battier) and were outrebounded by the much smaller Rockets.

It's not a huge blow to the team's development - which is all that the pre-season is really about - and Triano was able to get a look at the tandem of Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu together for a second night.

Bosh finished with 13 points in 26 minutes, Turkoglu had nine points with five assists in 23.

"I thought they both were good at times, but you could see that they were labouring and unable to stay at that level (of effective intensity) for enough minutes," the coach said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 16, 2009


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