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Stephen Jackson Ends Season

Stephen Jackson might be the most fascinating player in today's NBA. A player so uneven he spent time in Europe before helping (really helping) the Spurs win a title, Jackson has somehow found himself as Golden State's rock, its sole reliable component. For a team sitting at 25-47, that's not a proper compliment. But Jackson had played huge minutes through injury and embarrassment, plying Don Nelson's desire amid low expectations and faulty results. Jax and Nellie really belong together, as bizarre to the NBA each has been.
↵Jackson's season is over because of a nagging toe injury. You wonder -- well, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News wonders -- if Nellie might not be far behind. Earlier this month, Nelson turned the team over to top assistant Keith Smart for two games. With Jackson out, little to play for and natives continuing with the restlessness, it might actually be best for Nellie to avoid the public eye.
↵Nelson is the star where ever he lands, but he has taken a particularly greater share of the Golden State spotlight this season, with his right-hand man pushing Chris Mullin out of power in the Warriors front office. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Warriors have had their worst season since the halycon days of Mike Montgomery. Nelson is brilliant, but too unstable. He needs a strong check (whether in human or circumstantial form) to balance his impulses. He doesn't have that. So Al Harrington (a rather perfect Nellie big man) gets pushed into the doghouse and eventually to New York for a superfluous gunner (a role already overloaded in Oakland). Jax goes from Nellie's facilitator to Nellie's LeBron, which is a tad ridiculous. Further, Nellie's pressure got Jax a lucrative contract extension that runs through 2013. Jax is one week away for age 31.
↵Maybe Nellie helped reinvent Jackson. But he's also destroying him. Just like Nellie helped reinvent the Warriors, and has now destroyed them.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.