Jack adds depth for Raps

Raptors Jarret Jack flattens the Cav's Mo Williams during 4th qtr action here at the Air Canada...

Raptors Jarret Jack flattens the Cav's Mo Williams during 4th qtr action here at the Air Canada Centre. (Mark O'Neill/SUN MEDIA)

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

It's obvious that Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo did not sign point guard Jarrett Jack this summer because he's a big fan of alliteration or because Jack is a buddy of Chris Bosh.

Colangelo acquired the former Georgia Tech star (he played with Bosh during the 2002-03 season) because Jack gives the Raptors a second, quite able ball handler at the point, something extremely valuable if Jose Calderon is out or having an off day.

Which was exactly the situation in Toronto’s 110-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Calderon struggled, managing nine points and just one assist in almost 32 minutes of play. But Jack, along with others on the bench, including Antoine Wright and Amir Johnson, gave the team a lift en-route to the win.

Jack finished with nine points, six assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes and played hard on defence.

“That’s one of the reasons we did what we did in the off-season — get some depth at that position,” Triano said. “And when guys aren’t playing as well and are struggling a little bit, that’s when we go to the bench and hope those guys pick it up. And so far they have.”

Triano is loathe to suggest that Calderon is off to a slow start, despite the fact that his numbers are down. Last season, the Spanish national team star averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 assists. This season, it’s 9.8 points and 5.3 assists. There have been suggestions that Calderon, 28, is rusty after taking the summer off.

But Triano doesn’t really see it that way. He thinks having more ball handlers in the starting lineup, including forward Hedo Turkoglu, as well as Bosh, means that, inevitably, Calderon’s numbers will go down. Turkoglu is averaging 3.5 assists, third only to Calderon and Jack (4.0).

“We’re playing Jose with two other guys that can handle (the ball) and make plays,” Triano said. “And that makes it tough for teams to guard us, and I think that’s one of the reasons we have so many more points. Yes, Jose’s assists are down, but it’s not because he’s not playing well.

"It’s because we have other guys that can handle, and other guys who can make plays, and defences have a more difficult time focussing on one particular player on any type of screen and roll action.”

The Raptors have had success scoring, averaging 108.5 points per game, third best in the NBA.

But Triano is not worried about Calderon, and neither is Chris Bosh, who is having a monster season (second in NBA rebounding at 13.0 per game and fifth in scoring 29.5). Bosh, in fact, believes it’s a good that Calderon is not handling the ball as much.

“It’s not as much pressure on him,” said the big Texan. “He doesn’t have to pound the ball as much as he used to. But once he gets in a groove, we know what Jose can do.”

For his part, Calderon acknowledged that his game isn’t where he wants it, but he’s perfectly fine sharing the ball and minutes.

“We have more guys who can make plays for our teammates, and that’s great,” he said. “It’s easier for our team.”

The 2-2 Raptors are in New Orleans tonight.


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