OAKLAND -- The numbers say Jarrett Jack had a better year last season as the starting point guard for the New Orleans Hornets. He averaged more points, more assists and more minutes than he has for the Warriors this season.
But it's hard to argue against his impact with Golden State being the more respectable feat. Definitely the most fulfilling, he said. And he might end up with the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award for his troubles.
"When you're playing for something, that's always different," Jack said. "Both of (those situations) are special. But when you're associated with winning and you're able to do what we've been able to do here, I don't think anything can top that."
Jack is averaging 13.2 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 29.6 minutes. But the statistics don't give the full picture.
He's been the Warriors' primary offense off the bench. He's been a playmaker for the second team and a facilitator down the stretch. He's been an unmistakable locker room presence who holds fellow veterans accountable while encouraging the youngsters.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford figures to be the front-runner for the award. He has name recognition and is averaging 16.8 points per game for the third-best team in the Western Conference. But Jack has presented a strong case.
"To me, he's the Sixth Man of the Year," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I think Jamal Crawford has had a great year. I think (New York's) J.R. Smith has had a great year. I understand their argument. But what Jarrett Jack has done for this basketball team -- his voice, his leadership, his competitiveness, his professionalism, his awareness of the big moment -- he's been special."
Jack said he isn't concerned with the postseason award celebrating the best reserve. And, yes, he says he knows you don't believe him.
He said he gets more out of the love he gets from his peers and other coaches and executives. Jack is one of the more popular and respected players in the league, especially for one who isn't a household name. He said he's gotten a lot of comments from people happy to see him on a winning team.
Jack averaged 15.6 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 34 minutes -- all career-highs -- for the Hornets, but it was on a team that went 21-45.
With the Warriors, Jack leads all reserves in scoring and assists during clutch time -- the last five minutes of games and a point differential within five points.
"This guy is having a big time year for us, and he's played a huge part in our success," Jackson said. "He's been a crucial pickup for us, and I don't think we'd be where we are today if he's not on this basketball team."
"He got away with a shot," Howard told Yahoo! Sports, referring to a play toward the end of the first half. "I will remember this game. I will remember that shot. He said he wasn't trying to do it. You can look at the play and see it for yourself. I will take care of it later."
Lee, after Tuesday's practice, said he was surprised at Howard's comments.
"I expressed to him at halftime that it was unintentional," Lee said. "But I'm worried about the Sacramento Kings right now. Moving forward, we'll deal with that when we get to it.
"We played the whole second half and it didn't get chippy in the second half, and then postgame he seemed to change his tune. ... We've got a lot bigger things to worry about."
"I truly believe Steph Curry deserves some votes," Jackson said. "Now, LeBron James is MVP. I would not make a case that anybody else should win it. But Steph Curry, I'd be shocked if he doesn't get some votes."