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NBA / Jan 22, 2010 / 11:00 am

Stephen Jackson’s Impact In Charlotte Has Been Amazing

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That’s the slogan Stephen Jackson apparently lived by when he asked out of Golden State over the summer. His choice to publicly demand a trade made his life a living hell for the first few months of the season. On top of being fined by the league, Jackson went through a messy divorce with the Warriors organization and became the hottest topic in the basketball media for the first quarter of the season.

But here we are in late January, halfway through the season and Jackson is now a member of the Charlotte Bobcats. He’s proved skeptics wrong and has lifted the franchise from the bottom of the East all the way to fifth place in the conference. Other than the Thunder, the Bobcats have been the league’s most surprising team. Since the ball dropped in Times Square, Charlotte has owned the league’s best record (9-1) in 2010 – including six straight wins.

Leading the charge for the Bobcats is the man who was known as a cancer just months ago. Before he came to the team, the Bobcats averaged just 82.4 ppg and shot 39.4 from the field. Since his arrival, the team’s offense has skyrocketed and they’re now putting up 97.7 ppg and shooting 46.6 percent. In the month of January, Jackson is averaging 24.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 3.7 apg. The 31-year-old guard/forward scored a career high 43 points in a big win against the Rockets on Jan. 12. Jackson was also recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

“I knew this was a place where I could be myself,” Jackson told reporters Thursday. “I’m with some guys who play hard and want to win, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t want to be a part of an organization that was going young and worried about being good in three years and not now.”

Captain Jack’s impact has been surprising. After the Warriors gave into his wishes and shipped him off to Charlotte, many people thought he was in a worse situation by going to the Bobcats. On top of not going to a winning franchise like he had originally hoped (Jackson was asking to be traded to either Cleveland, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas), he was also going to a team that had Larry Brown – a coach who is notorious for clashing with players with strong personalities (i.e. Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson). Beat writers and haters were just waiting for the two to start clashing. But so far, that is exactly what hasn’t happened.

Jackson has thrived in Brown’s system and the two have gotten along well. Brown has praised Jackson’s leadership as well as his ability and willingness to play defense. Jackson is also meshing well with the Bobcats’ other star, Gerald Wallace, who is having an All-Star season. Even though he’s only been a Bobcat for a few months, Jackson has already earned the respect of his teammates and has grown into their leader. The nine-year veteran’s passion and competitiveness has rubbed off on the rest of the roster.

“He’s very confident as he comes out on the court,” Wallace said of Jackson this week. “I think that rubs off on guys.”

I remember sitting in the Bobcats’ locker room earlier this month when they were in town to play the Knicks, and watching Jackson interact with all his teammates, coaches and team employees. He was the life of the locker room, and judging by the comradery he had with everybody, you would have thought he was with the franchise for several years.

I also recall that day back in August when he told me he wanted out of Golden State and wanted another chance at a ring (Jackson won a championship with the Spurs in 2003).

“I’m 31 years old,” Jackson told Dime on Aug. 28. “I have four or five years left, I want to be in a situation where I can continually be in the playoffs and get another ring. So that’s where my mind is at now.”

Even though it’s in the most unlikely of places, Captain Jack is getting that chance now. And he’s taking full advantage of it.

Do you guys think that the Bobcats can finish in the top 5 of the East?

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  • jzsmoove

    playoffs yes. championship is wishful thinking with the Bobcats.

  • K Dizzle

    Should be an all-star, deserves to be an allstar…won’t be an allstar…

  • control

    The Cats MIGHT finish 6th-8th. 5th might be asking too much. Crash will most likely get injured a little bit, and SJack is the definition of streaky. For every hot streak he has, he’s going to have a cold streak that will even it all out.

  • idothis

    ALL. STAR.

    At what point does a perennial 20/5/4 impact player get recognized? If it were anyone else, it would’ve been a wrap by now.

  • Reddi Red

    This is sort of why I wanted him to come to Detroit.
    I knew it wasn’t gonna happen, but this is the type of player we need. He has PASSION for the game and yes, he is a bit streaky, but then who isn’t (except for the superstars).

    THE PISTONS NEED PASSION FOR THE GAME. we don’t have that right now. Big Ben is the closest to that.

    SJack deserves a AllStar nod.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald

    The Bobcats have a pretty brutal six-game Western road trip coming up including Denver, Lakers and Portland. Its going to good test for the Cats. Can they finish in the top 5? I don’t think they can, but I envision them getting the 7th or 8th seed. Especially if Chandler can come back from injury and be better than he’s been so far.

  • chris

    i agree with gerald -check out kevin pelton’s take on the bobcats at basketballprospectus.com. bobcats are very good with stephen jackson, and even better when tyson chandler doesn’t play, ie, when they play mohammed/diop a total of 35 minutes a game, and go small for the rest – wallace is getting it done against other teams bigs, felton and murray are good enough at the guard spots, and larry brown is still a decent coach. i am guessing they fight miami for the 5th seed.

  • http://nerditry.com nerditry

    I think many of us have no insight into the current Larry Brown. We’re still in the mindset of when he was with Iverson in Philly and then in Detroit.

    LB looks to be working with his players more and boosting their confidence. I’m very impressed with the Cats since this trade, but good lord they need to get more out of their draft picks.

  • Captain Awesome

    When did Stephen Jackson get new teeth?

  • Brown

    They can grab the 5th seed, where there competition is Miami and Toronto, but I don’t think they will. They lack depth, which will knock them down a couple nothches in the long run.

  • Soul Jax

    So happy for Cap’n Jack. Not really sure why more people didn’t see him as a perfect fit in Charlotte. He’s a 20 point threat on any night on a team that was about 20 points a night away from being great.

    Now if they could only get a truly great big man they could really make some noise in the playoffs, put someone like Chris Bosh or Amare on this team and they could make a serious run for Eastern Conference Champs and maybe even a title. Lets not forget how Gerald Wallace beasted Lebron Earlier this year. Although I do agree with Control that Crash is always one hard dunk away from that kinda injury that will devastate his game.

    Go Cats! Just hope they don’t get matched up against my Celtics in the first round:P

  • mules

    “Other than the Thunder, the Bobcats have been the league’s most surprising team. ”

    Swap out “Thunder” for “Rockets” and this may make sense…didn’t most people know OKC was on the come up before the season even started? Three consecutive years of solid lottery picks will do that.

  • shiptar

    things turned out pretty good for him and the cats, cause if they weren’t winning, he would ask for another trade for sure.
    I haven’t seen bobcats play recently, but aren’t wallace and jackson both small forwards? Info anyone?

  • inmypjs

    Didn’t he say the same thing when he was traded by the Pacers to the Warriors? This is just the honeymoon phase…wait after a couple of years when Bobcats start stinking up the joint again and they start throwing plates at each other.

  • VLAD

    SJax can suck it.