TORONTO — If Bryan Colangelo was looking for durability behind starting point guard Jose Calderon, there were few better fits than Jarrett Jack.
The Raptors officially introduced Jack on Tuesday, signing the free agent guard to a US$20-million four-year deal as Colangelo continues to revamp his roster.
“This is another piece of the puzzle that is hopefully going to bring it all together,” the Raptors GM said at a news conference at the Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors went a disappointing 33-49 last season, and much of their losses came with Calderon on the bench, out for large chunks of the season with a hamstring injury.
The reliable Jack is one of just 11 NBA players who appeared in all 82 games in each of the past two seasons — last season with Indiana where he supplanted former Raptor T.J. Ford for the starter’s job, and the previous season in Portland.
“To describe me in a nutshell is being tough,” Jack said.
“There are things along the road, going through this NBA journey that you’re going to have to play through, and injury and not being 100 per cent every night are part of it.
“Its being there for your teammates and trying to be the best teammate possible.”
The six-foot-three, 195-pound Jack will be reunited with former Georgia Tech teammate Chris Bosh.
The Raptors star and team captain was the first person Jack called after learning of Toronto’s interest.
“Chris actually thought I was playing a prank on him, thought I was lying to him. The next day it hit the media and he was excited,” Jack said.
“It’s unbelievable, not many times in this league do you get a chance to play alongside people you really call friends,” he added.
“We were talking about that the last time we played against each other, how it would be something if we could ever be teammates again.
“It came to pass now.”
Jack, acquired by the Pacers in a five-player trade a year ago, averaged a career-high 13.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season.
He’s a versatile player who can line up at either point guard or shooting guard, and is a decent shooter and a hard-nosed defender.
He’s also earned a reputation around the league as a great teammate in the locker-room. He says he comes by his generous nature honestly, inheriting it from his parents, dad Carlton, a former football player at Grambling, and mom Louise.
“My parents growing up, whenever my father would cook in the neighbourhood, he would cook for anybody who needed a plate. If you didn’t have a plate that night you knew there was more than enough food at the Jack household,” Jack said.
“My mom would help run our youth basketball association.
“If there was a kid who had a tough household, come on in our house, we might not have a bed for you, but we make room. We’ll get you extra shoes if you need that. . . anything to help put someone in a successful position.”
Jack’s arrival is the latest manoeuvre in a busy off-season for Colangelo, highlighted by the acquisition of forward Hedo Turkoglu earlier this month in a complex four-way deal.
Colangelo also signed centre Andrea Bargnani to a $50-million, five-year deal, and acquired USC swingman DeMar DeRosan with the ninth pick in last month’s NBA draft.