PDA

View Full Version : Pacers.com> Jackson Quickly Weaving into Team Fabric



ChicagoJ
10-06-2004, 05:34 PM
Jackson Quickly Weaving into Team Fabric

By Conrad Brunner | Oct. 6, 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Among the many things the Pacers are learning about their newest star is this: Stephen Jackson isnt the kind of guy who waits to be introduced. Because of his outgoing, engaging and intense presence, Jackson has woven himself quickly into the fabric of the team.

If there was any uncertainty in the locker room about the price paid to acquire Jackson from Atlanta forward Al Harrington -- it exists no longer.

I love Al to death, like a brother, said Jermaine ONeal. It was a situation where he wanted to be the guy on a team and thats a perfect situation for him. Wins and losses is a whole other argument, but if we were going to trade a guy like Al Harrington it had to be for a guy like Stephen Jackson.

He brings a lot of toughness like Al did but he brings it another position, the 2-3 combo rather than the 3-4 combo. Thats kind of where Al got caught up, playing behind me and Ron. I think its going to be one of those situations where we can go real big at multiple positions. We can throw a lot of bodies that can cause huge matchup problems for a lot of teams.

The players have embraced Jackson not only for his personality, but what he can mean on the court. A slashing scorer with a propensity for taking big shots with the game on the line, he promises to strengthen the backcourt both offensively and defensively.

I think it only makes us a better team, said Reggie Miller. The ultimate goal is to build a team that can potentially win a championship. Ive played against him for a number of years, and I understand what he can do on the floor, and thats only going to help us ultimately become the best team.

You know, Ive seen the other teams in our division, and Detroit added some pieces, especially at the shooting guard and small forward. We have to keep up with the Joneses. Right now were chasing them. They are the team to beat. We feel we are the better team, and I think adding him will only help us out.

Because Jackson was the lone major acquisition of the offseason, it could be interpreted that there is a high level of expectation for him to push the team to another level in the postseason. He doesnt shy away from that pressure.

I make love to pressure, he said. Ive been doing that my whole career. Pressure finds me. I caress pressure. I love pressure. This is what I was put on this Earth to do, so bring it on. Im ready for it.

A starter all of last season, when he averaged a career-high 18.1 points with Atlanta, and most of the previous season in San Antonio, Jackson has willingly accepted a backup role behind Miller. The 26-year-old shows an unusual maturity for a young veteran, perhaps borne from the path he had to take to get here. Three years after being drafted in the second round by Phoenix in 1997, Jackson finally broke into the league in 2000. Three years after that, he had won his first NBA championship ring as a key role-player for San Antonio.

He has seen both the depths and the heights of the professional basketball world, and understands that any role on a contender is more desirable than a leading role on a lottery team.

Going from San Antonio to Atlanta was a setback, but it was also a blessing in disguise, Jackson said. To come here and play with Jermaine ONeal feels like Im with Tim Duncan again. I honestly feel better than the way I felt coming into the year we won a championship in San Antonio.

Im just excited, man, because this is something I want to be a part of. Ive got a great opportunity to learn from Reggie. This is a chance of a lifetime for me that Ive got to take advantage of and Im ready to get started.

Jackson emerged as an explosive scorer last season, averaging 27.3 points in the final 10 games of the season. He expects to assume a more general-purpose role with the Pacers, who have ONeal and Ron Artest as the primary scorers.

My role in Atlanta was scoring, he said. Here, I have to do a lot of little things. We have two All-Stars and a Hall-of-Famer so my goal is to do the little things that help us win games. Regardless of whatever it is, Im willing to do it.

Jacksons leadership skills and infectious personality have impressed Coach Rick Carlisle.

Hes been a player at the championship level, and that was a huge factor with us pursuing the opportunity to get him, he said. Hes a good pressure player. Hes hit big shots at the championship level. And hes a guy who brings great energy.

Hes going to juice our locker room, we think. Hes going to push the guys on our team to get better and thats what being a top team is about.

A lot of guys say theyre willing to do whatever they can to help the team win. Jackson is all about backing it up.

Im going to knock somebody out for Jermaine, he said. Im going knock somebody out for Ron, just like Id knock somebody out for the guys on I.R. Im willing to give everything I can for this team.

As the Pacers already are learning, this is a guy with a lot to give.

Kegboy
10-06-2004, 07:14 PM
I make love to pressure, he said. Ive been doing that my whole career. Pressure finds me. I caress pressure. I love pressure. This is what I was put on this Earth to do, so bring it on. Im ready for it.

:flirt: :kiss: :love:

:laugh:

Roaming Gnome
10-06-2004, 07:52 PM
I make love to pressure, he said. Ive been doing that my whole career. Pressure finds me. I caress pressure. I love pressure. This is what I was put on this Earth to do, so bring it on. Im ready for it.

Pressure> :sex: <S-Jax

SoupIsGood
10-06-2004, 11:07 PM
Oh, I get you now Gnome.

I thought you were saying Pressure is Greater than Sex, but Sex is less than SJax.:laugh: