Project Spurs kicks off its 2013 Spurs Playoff preview as the Spurs face the Lakers in the first round. Paramjit Mahal asks if releasing Stephen Jackson will hurt the Spurs in the playoffs.
After the final night of the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs found out they will be meeting an old foe in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs — the Los Angeles Lakers.
Any team wants to be set with their roster and their rotation heading in to the playoffs. So last week’s announcement of the Spurs releasing forward Stephen Jackson came as a big surprise considering the playoffs were just days away.
While Jackson’s release may not be felt on both ends of the court, however, his loss will be felt in the intangibles he brought to the team. More on that later.
Immediately, both Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal will need to step up and become another option behind “the Big Three” of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Not to mention Danny Green especially since he had a horrific postseason in last season's playoff run. During the course of the playoffs, they will be called upon to help lighten the load on the Spurs' key players.
The addition of Tracy McGrady gives the Spurs another slasher on the second unit to compliment the shooters or take over the offense should Manu Ginobili re-aggravate his injuries. But will T-Mac be ready in time and grasp the Spurs' system remains to be seen.
As a team, the Spurs are comprised of hard working, lunch pail guys, who go about their work in a quiet, low key demeanor. Jackson brought a swagger, a "mean-streak," or and "edge" to this Spurs team. He would be willing to guard bigger forwards such as Kevin Durant and didn't mind the occasional trash-talk on the court. Something the Spurs haven't had since Mario Elie. So who will be that player now that Capt. Jack is no more? Who will be there when the tough gets going?
Not to mention, the rest of the bench also benefited from the swagger he brought to the team. Players would feed off of his energy and raise their game as well.
However, in the end, his inability to crack the main rotation, produce when he got his opportunity, and coupled with the rift he had with Pop, lead to him being waived. It was just unfortunate it came to a head late in the season.
There is the matter of team chemistry as Jackson was vital in keeping the locker room in good spirits but considering there was discontent on his part (along with Pop), it was best to have few distractions heading into the postseason.
In the end, not having Jackson on the roster will not be that huge of a loss. It would have been different if he was producing offensively and defensively but he wasn't. He shot horrendously, and just couldn't bring back the magic he once had. If he did, then I am sure the Spurs coaching staff would have put up with his antics.
So Spurs’ fans, what do you think about the team waiving Jackson as they head into the playoffs versus L.A. this Sunday?