Michael Scotto, SNYNets.comNEW YORK — At 38-years-old, Jerry Stackhouse is perceived as the older man you play against in the park who’s played across the neighborhood for years. Metaphorically, Stackhouse is the guy chosen for a pick-up game because of his experience while showing flashes of the moves that made him a revered legend by his peers.
He may not be the player he was during the 2000-01 season when he led the NBA in scoring at 29.8 points per game, but he is still a serviceable player on the court and a vital veteran leader on the sidelines.
In a league that is defined by youth, athleticism, and potential, Stackhouse relies on his faith in God to guide him each day.
The biblical translation of Philippians 4:13 is “I can do all things through him (God) who strengthens me.”
Stackhouse’s presence has also been a source of strength for the Nets.
Stackhouse scored 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, in only 10 minutes of action as the Nets defeated the Orlando Magic in his Nets debut on Nov. 9th.
The debut also marked the first time a professional athlete wore the number 42 in a Brooklyn uniform since the late Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson.
With Gerald Wallace nursing a sprained ankle, the Nets have turned to Stackhouse to provide the second unit with some minutes. After an impressive showing in his debut against the Magic, Stackhouse has seen consistent playing time. He played about 15 minutes in each of the Nets previous two games and has looked awfully comfortable on the floor.
Most importantly, Stackhouse has been a source of energy for the Nets and he's helped them win three consecutive games. As a result, the Nets are 4-2 for the first time since Jason Kidd was patrolling the sidelines back in 2007.
The emergence of the “Stack Attack,” as I call it, has brought cheers from the home crowd and made him a fan favorite at Barclays Center.
Once Wallace and MarShon Brooks—who is also nursing a sprained ankle—return, Stackhouse’s playing time will probably decrease, but until then, he's shown that he can still make meaningful contributions at the highest level.
Once Wallace and Brooks return, though, Stackhouse will remain a vital leader, coaching from the sidelines while advising and helping to develop Brooklyn's younger guards during practices and games alike.
In his 18th season in the league, Stackhouse is preparing himself for a transition into the coaching profession under the tutelage of Avery Johnson. The two forged a relationship during their four-year tenure together with the Dallas Mavericks from 2004-08.
Brooks will benefit the most from Stackhouse’s tutelage in his second season. The Nets hope Stackhouse can help Brooks translate the scoring potential he displayed at the collegiate level to the NBA more effectively.
Over the course of his career, Stackhouse has averaged six free throw attempts per game, while Brooks has averaged less than three. For Brooks to realize his full potential, he needs to take a page out of Stackhouse's book by attacking defenders off the dribble and driving the ball into the paint. Thus far, Brooks has relied on a low percentage step back jump shot. If he attacks the basket more, though, Brooks will likely draw more fouls against defenders and earn uncontested points at the foul line.
Here, Stackhouse's tutelage is vital.
The man that pushed Brooks to a sixth man role, Joe Johnson, can also learn a great deal from Stackhouse.
As Johnson enters his 12th season, he can also learn a thing or two from Stackhouse. Like Johnson, Stackhouse had to adjust from being the go-to player and one of the NBA's leading scorers with the Detroit Pistons to a supporting role player with the Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.
Johnson will now have to make that transition. During his seven years with the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson was his team's primary scoring option and usually had the ball in his hands. Now, playing with Deron Williams and other talented backcourt players, he'll have to adjust.
As for Stackhouse, he'll also aid the development of rookies Tyshawn Taylor and Mirza Teletovic, spending time them and teaching them the nuances of the NBA game.
On a one-year veterans minimum deal of $1.3 million, Stackhouse may turn out to be one of the best bargains in Brooklyn. He's providing a team trying to find itself with veteran leadership and locker room stability.
Recently, he's been able to prove that he can still contribute on the court, as well. So in all, it's a win-win. The Nets provide Stackhouse the opportunity to continue playing the game he loves and a support staff to mold him into the coach he wants to become over time.
Meanwhile, thanks in part to his efforts, the Nets are a team on the rise.
Michael Scotto is an Analyst for SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter for the latest news from Brooklyn and the NBA: @MikeAScotto