What can we say about Richard Jefferson? Most of us believed the trade that brought him to San Antonio made the Spurs the top contender to LA’s juggernaut. We were wrong. More to the point, the Spurs Front Office was wrong. Big money trades are always risky for small market teams. However, one can’t help but ask the Spurs scouts and management what they saw in Jefferson’s skills that led them to believe Jefferson would be a good fit. The risk that came with the trade seemed to be magnified early in the season when it was clear Jefferson’s “talents” didn’t mesh well with the Spurs team and overall philosophy.
So how bad was it? Did we as fans have too high of expectations for Jefferson, being it was his first year in the system? Were his stats that awful? Join me on a journey of enlightenment. We’re gonna go to dark and scary places but we’ll make it out alive. Unlike Richard Jefferson’s career.
I’m a stats man. I think it’s unrealistic to expect people to watch every game and every player to get an idea how they play. While it’s good practice to watch as much as you can, it’s ok to use stats to give you a general idea how a player performed. Stats being forever is an unfortunate truth for Richard Jefferson. He averaged his lowest totals on PPG (12.3), APG (2.0), FT% (73.5%), and possibly consequently in minutes (31.1) since his rookie season with New Jersey. He shot a measly 46.7% from the field and collected 4.4 RPG. Horrible rebounding numbers for a SF making $14 million. But but but, the Spurs are geared towards defense! Be fair to him, you might say. Ok.
Over at 82games they have defensive statistics that shed a little light Jefferson’s defensive efforts. Against SF, he allowed 48.6% from the field, 6.3 RP48 (rebounds/48 minutes), and 17.7 PP48. Not too bad but you have to remember this league isn’t built on scoring SFs. He was guarding the likes of Ron Artest and James Posey. Luckily Pop platooned Jefferson at SF and PF. How did he do against PFs? Oh swimmingly well I say. He allowed 55.4%, 20.3 PP48, 10.3 RP48, and a PER of 19.1. Players with a PER lower than 19.1? Al Jefferson, David West, Derrick Rose, Paul Pierce, and LaMarcus Aldridge to name a few. Basically when Jefferson was guarding Power Forwards, they became their team’s best player. I can’t say I put all the blame on Jefferson. He is after all a Small Forward. Some or most of the blame falls on Pop for thinking he could win when Jefferson spent as much time at PF as he did at SF. But this is where watching the games comes in.
Anyone that watched the Spurs consistently this year saw a lackadaisical, timid, and generally lost on both ends player. He didn’t drive to the basket but instead settled for jump shots (especially 21 footers which = worst shot in basketball). We saw flashes in a few games where it seemed as though something clicked in his dome that hey, he used to be able to get to the basket. But those games were few and far between. He was never consistent unless we’re talking about consistently inconsistent. Wait, what? Yeah I just blew your mind.
Final Grade: D
Lay it on me: