Thursday , Dec , 31 , 2009 Oly Sandor

The politics behind Toronto starting Jarrett Jack or Jose Calderon

Sure, Calderon has an impressive assists-to-turnover ratio and is a fan favourite with his engaging, good-guy approach. And sure, executive Bryan Colangelo – also known as the former golden boy of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – threw his unconditional support behind Calderon when he extended him in July of 2008. None of that should matter, though. What should matter is results. And Jack has produced superior results when starting for the injured Calderon and, for several reasons, is better equipped to continue on as the first-stringer …

The politics behind Toronto starting Jarrett Jack or Jose CalderonThe politics must end.

Instead of continuing to try to justify the five-year, $45 million contract they awarded point guard Jose Calderon two years ago, the Toronto Raptors’ front office must swallow their pride, come clean, and concede that Jarrett Jack deserves to start.

Full time.

Sure, Calderon has an impressive assists-to-turnover ratio and is a fan favourite with his engaging, good-guy approach. And sure, executive Bryan Colangelo – also known as the former golden boy of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – threw his unconditional support behind Calderon when he extended him in July, 2008.

None of that should matter, though. What should matter is results. And Jack has produced superior results when starting for the injured Calderon and, for several reasons, is better equipped to continue on as the first-stringer.

Winning teams often take on the identity of their point guard, even if he’s a supporting piece. For instance, when at their best, the world champion Los Angeles Lakers exude Derek Fisher’s  determination, while, two years ago, the Boston Celtics had some of young Rajon Rondo’s swagger.

Perhaps, the best example is Avery Johnson and the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson wasn’t the most talented or gifted point guard, but his will and smarts defined those championship Spur teams.

First ticket Hall of Fame players like Tim Duncan and David Robinson were the unquestioned superstars. Johnson, however, was very much a co-star, who pushed lead by example guys such as Duncan, Robinson, and the rest of the likeable Spurs.

Jack is a competitor. He pushes superstar Chris Bosh, an old friend from college, and plays with intensity whenever he takes the floor. Like Johnson, Jack has influenced his teammates, which, in turn, has helped Toronto win five straight games.

Well, why would coach Jay Triano consider putting Calderon in the starting line-up when he returns from injury? After all, Jack is leading, defending, and, most importantly, winning.

There are other factors. Colangelo, who is in the final year of his contract and is waiting on ownership to either extend him long-term or exercise his one-year option clause, needs Calderon playing major minutes.

On this issue, Triano’s hands could be tied. He was Colangelo’s hire and a new front office Tsar would likely bring in his guy to stand on the sideline, run practice, and coach the team. 

Still, if it’s is about winning, Jack stays as the starter. If it’s about anything else, Calderon gets his old job back. Either way, things are getting awfully interesting in Toronto.

Jack or Calderon? Let us know your thoughts on Toronto in the comment box below. Photo courtesy of talksports.net