1:24 pm Nov. 30, 2012
Entering the season, team depth was an absolute strength for the Brooklyn Nets, with fallback plans and plausible second unit options at every position.
Jerry Stackhouse, however, was not part of that plan. The 38-year-old former star was viewed within the organization as more of a player/coach.
Early struggles from C.J. Watson shooting the ball, and Mirza Teletovic playing enough defense to justify minutes, had the Nets searching for some additional perimeter shooting off the bench.
Astonishingly, Stackhouse has been the one to provide it, putting up Steve Novak-like numbers over the past two games.
In Monday night's win over the Knicks, Stackhouse made four of his five three-point attempts. In Wednesday night's win over the Celtics, Stackhouse made five of his six three-point attempts.
Now, it is possible Stackhouse has evolved as a player. But this would be an evolution, to be sure.
In his eighteen-year career, Stackhouse has made as many as four three-pointers 36 times. That's twice a season. And each of the 21 other times he made four three-pointers, he did it on more attempts than he had on Monday.
He's made five or more just 15 times in his career, or less than once per season. Only one other time did he do it on just six attempts, back in 2007 for the Dallas Mavericks.
Incidentally, that 2006-07 Mavericks season is one of the few data points from Stackhouse's career suggesting he can be the Nets' designated shooter. He made more than 38 percent of his threes for the Mavs, helping them to a 67-15 record and top seed in the Western Conference. Though they were upset in the first round of the playoffs, it would be hard to say that Mavericks team failed with Stackhouse in that role.
By the way, Stackhouse's coach that year was Avery Johnson, now his coach with the Nets.
But beyond that one year, Stackhouse hasn't been much of a three-point shooter. His career mark is 31 percent. He shot 32.5 percent in the five seasons since 2006-07.
This year, so far? 53.6 percent. And in the past two games? 81.8 percent.
It will be fascinating to see if the Nets accept the recent Stackhouse performance as an unexpected gift, take it and move on, or if they begin to rely on Stackhouse as their primary perimeter threat off the bench.
And better still will be to watch whether Stackhouse, an N.B.A. great, can keep it up for any amount of time.
The smart money says he won't, but that's what it would have said about the possibility of his two recent performances, too.