An Open Letter to Stephen Jackson

Stephen,

This week you took the time to bemoan your status on the Bucks.  Evidently, you think you should be playing more based upon your status and career length.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, this is what you shared,

“I’ve worked hard for many years to be that player that guys want to play with.  To not be playing, and not have any reasons behind it, it’s kind of disrespectful. At the end of the day, I’m 33 years old. I’m not a 22-year-old guy that you’re coaching. I’m a grown man who’s probably done more than a lot of people in this locker room in this league, including coaches. Like I said, I can’t put myself in the game and I can’t do anything except support my teammates and be ready for when I do play.

Then last night, you went on record to openly court Dwight Howard to a Nets team that you don’t even play for yet.  How does that work exactly?  Is it considered tampering by the Nets if you are not on the New Jersey roster yet?

“(Howard and Williams) is a championship contending team right there. Of course I’d want to play on that team.  No disrespect to the guys (on the Bucks), but I’m at the stage of my career where I want to be in a different situation.

(Side note:  If the Nets wanted you, you would have been a Net over a month ago.  Guess they don’t want you as much as you want them.  Sorry.)

If Scott Skiles hasn’t taken the time to explain the reasons behind his decision to play you less, then that is unfortunate.  However, he still may be irritated over decisions you’ve made in the past, like this tweet.

Just to be clear, you tweeted this a long time ago, after your very first benching of the season: for the second half of a Nuggets game — following a first half where the Denver fast break ran over, past, and around you on multiple occasions.   So after getting sat down for 24 minutes of basketball, in a game in which you underperformed, it was time to fire your coach (or, at the very least, tacitly imply that he should get axed.)  Are you still confused on why the lines of communication are filled with static?

If Scott Skiles has not told you the reasons, then let me elaborate further. I think you may come to understand better why you aren’t playing much.

For starters, keep in mind this one idea:  the things you did in 2008 do not earn you playing time in 2012.  If you are good enough to play now, you play.  If not, you don’t.

You may feel like you haven’t been given a chance to contribute on the court, that notion simply isn’t true.  Let’s examine that idea further.  This season, you have taken 272 shots.  Only two players on the Bucks — Brandon Jennings and Drew Gooden — have taken more.

And about those shots: only 35.7% of them have been successful.  As a frame of reference, you should probably be told that 35.7% is a relatively low percentage.  There are only five players in the NBA (as of Feb. 17) who have shot that 36% or lower while getting 600 or more minutes of playing time (and playing time is the issue here, correct?):

*  Metta World Peace – 33.5%
*  Glen Davis – 35.4%
*  Stephen Jackson – 35.7%
*  John Salmons – 35.9%
*  Raymond Felton – 36.0%

(Photo: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE)

Let’s take them in reverse order:

Raymond Felton is out of shape. He’s pudgy and needs to lose 20 pounds. There’s no need to be cruel beyond that.

John Salmons is terrible.  Milwaukee knew that.  John Hammond knew that.  He was so desperate to get Salmons out of town that he brought you in, and he really didn’t want you, either.

Glen Davis gets a pass.  He’s in new town with a new team, and now that he has lost two close relatives in span of months, he is a wreck.  Plus, he wasn’t actually ever any good to begin with.

Metta World Peace is coming to grips with the same reality that you are, Stephen.  Struggling now in the latter stages of his career, he wants to play more.  His coach, Mike Brown, wants to use him less.  Metta isn’t happy about it, but he is handling it better than you, Stephen.  (Think about your old teammate and let that notion sink in.)

Shooting tells part of the story, but not all of it.  Your counterparts on the floor have outperformed you all season long.

A final thought:  You seem very devoted to your music.  If so, then it is to be applauded and commended.  We all should have those types of passionate pursuits.  Kudos.

The problem, though, starts when you try to piggyback a promotional concert tour onto the busiest NBA travel schedule ever.  When bundled stretches of games are sandwiched around late-night tour dates, then you can reasonably expect to underwhelm.  And underwhelm you have.

Last night, you took three jump shots. None of the three went in. None even touched the inside of the rim. For the season, you’re at 34% FG on the road.  Dead legs, tired shot, front rims; repeat.

You have a guaranteed contract, so you will get paid no matter how much attention you devote to your craft(s).  Want to focus on basketball?  Fine.  Want to focus on music?  Fine. But Scott Skiles wants to win, so in the latter case, please do not complain if he sits you down for ragged play.

And please don’t make us watch any more half-assed basketball.

Signed,

People Who Watch Bucks Games

Topics: Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Skiles, Stephen Jackson

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