Remember how the Warriors weren't worried about swingman Stephen Jackson?
He's a pro's pro, they said. He's a guy who would do his job and not cause problems.
Well, it seems Jackson has finally gotten to that point.
"Yeah," coach Don Nelson said after Sunday's practice. "I feel he's there now."
Jackson, who's been the source of discourse since his desires to be traded went public during the summer, said he's turned the page. He said he's going to focus on the basketball court and keep his lips sealed.
After all, the regular season is just nine days away.
"I'm not as dumb as people think," Jackson said. "I'm a smart guy. Sometimes I might say some things that people don't expect because it was on my mind. But I know what's right and wrong. I know what I need to do to continue to build my reputation in this league as a player and as a man. By keeping my composure, it's going to help me and not take away from me being a great basketball player."
Jackson's spirits have seemed high the past few days. He's been smiling and interacting with his teammates more than in the recent past. During Saturday's game at Sacramento, he was constantly encouraging teammates, and he didn't look as discouraged when things went poorly. Sunday came word that Jackson is hosting a barbecue for his teammates.
With Jackson's emotional state improved, Nelson sought to get the veteran swingman's game ready for the season. He played Jackson the entire game Saturday. Nelson said he was surprised because he didn't think Jackson was ready to handle such a load.
Despite having played just 9 minutes, 20 seconds against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 9, then sitting out the next two exhibition games because of a team suspension, Jackson was fairly effective Saturday. He finished with 22 points and seven rebounds in the Warriors' 101-94 loss.
Perhaps his biggest feat was keeping his cool.
Jackson found himself being pestered by Kings small forward Omri Casspi, and Jackson wasn't getting the calls he thought he should've gotten. On several occasions, he stopped himself from popping off to the replacement referees by pausing and taking a deep breath.
He had five fouls and a technical in one quarter his last time on the court against the Lakers. Saturday, he didn't earn so much as a warning.
"I think I'm in better shape than they thought I was," Jackson said. "It felt good to be back on the court. Another chance for me to work on my composure with the refs and just try to stay into my game. So I think I got an A+ tonight."
Notes: Nelson said he's going to play backup center Ronny Turiaf as much as he can Tuesday against the Lakers. He said he plans to take a look at the big frontline of Turiaf, starting center Andris Biedrins and Anthony Randolph at small forward. ... Swingman Kelenna Azubuike (left ankle bone bruise) said he's taking it day-by-day, but the pain in his foot has his status for the remainder of the exhibition season in question. Azubuike said he is hoping to be ready for the opener against Houston on Oct. 28, and he wouldn't rule out another preseason appearance. ... Nelson said he expects to make a cut after Tuesday's game.
at Lakers (in Ontario),