TrueHoop: Richard Jefferson

Tuesday Bullets

October, 30, 2012
10/30/12
11:38
AM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Tim Frank of the NBA: "Tonight's NBA games will be played. We are still assessing the situation with regards to the rest of the week."
  • Andray Blatche got an assist from some first responders.
  • What's going to replace James Harden's beard as the icon of Thunder fanhood? The Lost Ogle offers up 11 nominations.
  • Matt Yglesias, Slate's business and economics blogger, on the Harden deal: "[M]y real critique is that the Thunder don't seem to be considering the optionality involved in resigning Harden. Having the guy under contract for a multiyear deal doesn't just carry with it the right to employ Harden's basketball services; it carries the right to trade the right to employ him at any time. So if it did come to pass that the Thunder were a championship-caliber team and nonetheless running some kind of intolerable operating loss, they could always trade him then (or, better, they could trade Westbrook). The existence of the luxury tax can lead to a kind of overthinking and irrational sequencing about these things. When considering whether or not to sign a player for $X million, the question to focus on is whether he produces more than $X million worth of basketball services. If he does, then he's a valuable trade asset at any time. And the luxury tax should be understood as being assessed on the entire team payroll rather than having the entire hit arbitrarily assigned to whomever happens to be the last player you signed."
  • Once everyone in the starting lineup is healthy and and the meet-and-greet is over, the Lakers are going to be a bear to defend. Brett Koremenos of Grantland breaks down five devastating sets from five title contenders, including the Lakers' "slot pick-and-roll into high-low" scheme.
  • Something we often forget about rookies playing their first regular season game in the NBA: Many of them are taking the floor against their idols. That has to be a bit of a jolt, as Portland's Damian Lillard tells it toward the end of his most recent installment of "License of Lillard."
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus unveils his final SCHOENE predictions for the season. Denver and Atlanta look strong. Oklahoma City and Indiana fall a few rungs. And who projects to have the No. 2 offense in the NBA? Your Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • The best in Nikola Pekovic propoganda this side of Podgorica.
  • Says here that Eddy Curry will probably start opposite Dwight Howard in the Mavericks' opener in Los Angeles, as Chris Kaman nurses a right calf injury.
  • One NBA scout has some unkind words for the Golden State Warriors. From his perch, Richard Jefferson causes headaches, David Lee was known to some Knicks teammates as FEMA because he was never there when you needed him and Mark Jackson doesn't have a feel from the game.
  • There aren't any industry studies, but I'd guess there are very few 15 year olds in North America whose Moms chaperoned them to the tattoo parlor -- Wizards rookie Bradley Beal is a notable exception. From Michael Lee in the Washington Post: "Besta Beal joined her son at the tattoo parlor when he got his first ink at age 15, and he needed her permission, because otherwise, 'she would’ve killed me,' Bradley said with a laugh. Beal provided all of the artwork on his arms ... "
  • Media outlets across the nation are publishing endorsements for the presidential election. The ClipperBlog editorial board weighs in and endorses ... Eric Bledsoe for Clippers starting shooting guard: "Across the league, NBA head coaches are facing tough choices as they go to fill out their lineup cards for opening night. Candidates have campaigned for spots since the start of training camp, hoping to show they have what it takes to get the job done. Some races were over before they began -- the incumbent's hold on the seat just too strong. But there are those, like the fight for the Clippers' second starting backcourt spot, that keep coaches up at night. Now it's time to make the call ... After thorough review of the candidates, we believe that the player best equipped to fulfill the necessary responsibilities of starting alongside Chris Paul is 22-year old Eric Bledsoe."
  • Can Rajon Rondo make the leap to first-team all-NBA?
  • Don't you just hate it when you realize that a player you can't stand is, in fact, a big-time contributor? Aaron McGuire of Gothic Ginobili on Jason Terry: "At some point, people who dislike Jason Terry -- myself included -- need to step back and simply start appreciating his production. And let's get this straight now -- I am no fan of Terry's. I think he's bombastic, self-obsessed, and preening. He needs to realize, at some point, that he is not an airplane ... But you know what? He probably was underrated in #NBARank, and in a general sense, Terry is of inconceivably low repute to a vast majority of the NBA's fans. And it makes no sense to me. Last season, Terry was the 5th best shooting guard in the NBA. Really. There were the obvious betters -- Kobe, Wade, Harden, Manu -- and you could make a reasonable case that Joe Johnson was better. Beyond those five? Nobody."
  • Our friends at Ball in Europe, without an NBA franchise on the Continent, are considering which NBA team to adopt as their own. You can cast your vote here.
  • Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones celebrates the release of Stephen Jackson's "Lonely at the Top," featuring Kevin Durant.
  • Did you hear about the time Matt Bonner dragged Jackson to a Coldplay concert?
  • Marreese Speights would like to remind you that there are 13 other teams in the Western Conference besides Oklahoma City and the Lakers.
  • Serge Ibaka tells us how Brooklyn is like Brazzaville.

Neal's three saves Spurs from elimination

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
1:48
AM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com
Archive
The San Antonio Spurs have plenty of veteran leaders on their team, but facing elimination in the final seconds of regulation against the Memphis Grizzlies, it was a rookie that saved them. Gary Neal hit a three-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer to send the game into overtime where the Spurs would go on to win 110-103.

Gary Neal
Neal
Neal led rookies in three-point percentage at 41.9 percent during the regular season, good for 12th-best overall in the league among qualifiers. However, he wasn't even the best three-point shooter on his own team during the regular season. Matt Bonner and Richard Jefferson both shot a higher percentage.

Before Wednesday night, Neal had only one attempt this season in the final five seconds to win or tie a game -- missing a three-point attempt in the final seconds against the Suns on April 13 that would have tied the game.

From the Elias Sports Bureau: This was the first time in Spurs history that they avoided elimination from a playoff series with an overtime win. Prior to Neal, the last player to make a game-tying three-point field goal with less than one second remaining in the fourth quarter of a playoff game was the Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups in 2004 against the New Jersey Nets. The Nets won that game in triple overtime.

A lot of credit for Wednesday's win goes to Manu Ginobili, who made a tough two-pointer with his foot on the three-point line to cut the Spurs deficit to one point with just over two seconds left in the fourth quarter. Ginobili, who struggled in Game 4, bounced back with 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The Spurs are 8-0 when Ginobili scores 30 or more points in the playoffs.

OTHER NBA ACTION:
The Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Denver Nuggets behind a dominant performance by Kevin Durant. With the Thunder trailing by nine points with 3:30 left in regulation, Durant led the comeback by outscoring the Nuggets 14-6 by himself. Durant hit five of six shots in that stretch and finished with 41 points, which tied a playoff career high. Of the four 40-point playoff games this season, Kevin Durant has two of them. The Thunder are now 7-0 this season when Durant scores 40 or more (5-0 in the regular season, 2-0 in the postseason).

Monday Bullets

August, 16, 2010
8/16/10
6:00
PM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive

Thursday Bullets

July, 22, 2010
7/22/10
12:08
PM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive

Wednesday Bullets

March, 17, 2010
3/17/10
2:10
PM ET
Arnovitz By Kevin Arnovitz
ESPN.com
Archive

Richard Jefferson on Tim Duncan

September, 25, 2009
9/25/09
4:15
PM ET

Spurs.com writer Ben Hunt interviewed Richard Jefferson, and the new Spur demonstrated that he's showing up to training camp with his comedic flair intact.

Coach Pop told us that you, "would provide humor in the locker room." Now the question is, what kind of humorist are you? Are you into cracking jokes or pulling pranks?
You know what, it's just whatever is available. You know I don't really like Tim Duncan very much and I think he is a bad person. You know and he had been saying...

(Laughs)
No really, I want all this to go down.

Absolutely. (Laughs)
Just some of the things that he has already said makes me know that it is going to be a very, very long year in dealing with him. But I'm looking forward to it. You know he thinks he's some quick-witted guy but he might've bit off more than he can chew in dealing with me.

Can you give us any insight on ...
No, no I will not expand anymore. I'll just say if he calls me "Princess Peanut" one more time, we're probably going to have a fight.

(Thanks Bernard.)

Richard Jefferson reportedly faces a huge wedding bill, a situation that normally comes with a wife. (Via Stern Show Blog)
Is Carlos Boozer the best thing that never happened to the Bulls? Is Brandon Bass redundant in Orlando? And will DeJuan Blair catch on in San Antonio? 

Carlos BoozerMatt McHale of By the Horns: "It's a bad sign when fans start longing for the halcyon days of the Michael Sweetney Era. And it's especially frustrating for Bulls fans, who had to deal with the loss of Ben Gordon while the league's rich got even richer: Boston got Rasheed Wallace, Cleveland got Shaq, L.A. got Ron Artest and San Antonio got Richard Jefferson ... It makes sense that the fans wanted to see a move. Something big, something juicy. But sometimes, staying the course might be the best plan of action. Or inaction, as the case may be. As things stand right now, the Bulls have a solid core of players -- a budding All-Star-in-the-making, a few savvy vets, some developing youngsters -- and enough expiring contracts to make a major move next summer or at the trade deadline. And Chicago will certainly be a much more attractive free agent destination if the Bulls can match last season's success than if they fell apart because [Carlos] Boozer took his usual 30-40 game vacation and our backcourt players broke down from playing too many minutes. Now, if the Jazz wanted to trade Boozer for some loose parts off the Bulls' scrap pile -- Tim Thomas, Jerome James, Anthony Roberson -- then let's get it done. And while we're dreaming, maybe they'll trade us Deron Williams for Brad Miller's expiring contract. But barring some mass hysteria and insanity in Utah, I guess Bulls fans will have to be satisfied with some incremental progress and hope for the future."

Brandon BassZach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily: "The only real issue with signing Brandon Bass is that -- at least technically -- he plays the position where the Magic were the deepest before his arrival. Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson gave the Magic talent and depth at power forward, making it the only position with a legitimate starter and legitimate reserve (I'd count point guard as well, but that's arguable). When a team has eight players under contract, as the Magic did last week, an all-star and a promising rookie at one position feels like an overabundance of wealth. So, at the surface, bringing in another power forward doesn't make a whole lot of sense (especially a 6-foot-7 power forward who's seemingly too small to fill in as the team's primary backup center, even if the statistics say otherwise). But that doesn't mean it was a bad signing. I love the move - like most Magic fans do - especially for the relatively inexpensive price tag. For a 23-year-old who seeps potential and has already played meaningful minutes on an upper-echelon team, $18 million over four years is a great deal. Anytime you can attain a quality player for that kind of value, you do it."

DeJuan BlairGraydon Gordian of 48 Minutes of Hell: "I love watching [DeJuan] Blair work under the boards. He has a mature sense of spacing and soft, accurate hands. His rebounding was particularly notable on the offensive end, where he consistently turned misses by his teammates into open layups and trips to the line (where he went 5-6). As will be the case with during the regular season, Blair was by no means the tallest player on the floor. But he was the only player on either team whose rebounding count reached double digits. Blair's offensive contributions weren't limited to put-backs; he showed promising signs that a well-rounded offensive game may be in his future. On the first play we ran specifically to him, Blair turned and hit a smooth 12-footer. On the next play, he received the ball at almost the exact same spot and used his defenders over-adjustment to take him off the dribble and draw the foul. Blair's mechanics are a little loose, but the origins of a reliable offensive arsenal are there."

THE FINAL WORD
Raptors Republic: Jarrett Jack, stop-gap?
Cowbell Kingdom: The cap and the Kings.
Valley of the Suns: What to expect from the Suns this week in Las Vegas. 

(Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein, Doug Pensinger, Noah Graham, Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Assuming this Richard Jefferson for Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas trade becomes official, the Spurs will, no doubt, be declared the big winners not only of this trade, but possibly of the whole week (which includes the draft) and maybe the off-season.

The Bucks are seen as having done well simply by getting rid of Jefferson's inflated contract. Yet there is a lot to recommend the move by the Spurs. As John Hollinger points out, Jefferson has the ability to make the corner 3, which tends to be available in the Spurs' offense. He alleviates the scoring pressure from the Spurs' big three. He can also supply some of the slashing that comes from an injury-prone Manu Ginobili.

But it's hardly a slam dunk.

Richard Jefferson
Remember when Richard Jefferson was an intimidating athlete at both ends of the floor? He's not even 30, but those days are already past.
(Al Bello, Getty Images Sport)

There are three boilerplate concerns:

  • Richard Jefferson has a reputation as a guy who speaks his mind, and in so doing causes friction with teammates and coaches. Perhaps the Spurs have an advantage here, with strong team leadership from Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, but they have gone to great lengths to avoid such players in the past.
  • Jefferson will be 29 next season, which would seem to make him a player in his prime. Yet Jefferson appears to already be several years into decline. His true shooting percentage and PER were at their peaks in 2005-2006, while his percentages of rebounds, assists, steals and blocks were at their best a year before that. I know, I know, he played with Jason Kidd, who helps to inflate teammates statistics. But the fact remains that he is, now, essentially an average NBA player.
  • The Bucks were slightly better, last year, when Jefferson was on the bench

Here's where the move seems to be slightly higher risk still: This robs the Spurs of cap space in 2010. So the analysis of this deal is not about what they gave up in the trade -- Bowen, Thomas and Oberto are worth Jefferson, for sure. But for this deal, in the summer of 2010, the Spurs would have been Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and oodles of cap space. Who would that have become? Somebody! Potentially somebody really special. And that's the player the Spurs silently included in this deal today.

I understand why they did that. They have a few years left of Tim Duncan's career, and it's going to take a lot of improvement to win the West -- the Lakers are far better at this point, and new threats like the Nuggets, Blazers and Thunder are entering the scene. So there's a mandate to win now, and inspired by that, they have gambled in a way they might not have in the past.

It may well work out beautifully. But this is not a steal, nor is it a no-brainer. It's one of the highest-risk moves the Spurs have made in the Tim Duncan era.

While the cellar-dwellers prepare their draft board, the NBA's elite have some tough calls to make. Will the Lakers pony up for Lamar Odom? Is Hedo Turkoglu worth exceeding the cap for? And the Cavs confront the reality that they're a couple of rotation players away from Eastern supremacy. 

Lamar OdomDarius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold: "We're at the point where [Lamar] Odom's true value to this team is no longer a mystery. When you talk X's and O's, he's the player that makes our strong side zone work as he provides the mobility and length to move from one side of the court to the other, pick up flashing big men, guard perimeter players, trap the ball handler, and still recover to the paint to rebound. He's the player that helps create our tremendous offensive spacing - playing as a PF that can initiate the offense, play on the perimeter (and be effective with the jumper or the drive), find creases in defenses to take advantage of the double teams that Kobe and [Pau] Gasol face, and also play in isolation from any position on the court (wing, top of the key, low block, elbow, etc). And when you talk team building and chemistry, he's also a real leader for the Lakers. Many will point to Kobe [Bryant] or [Derek] Fisher as our leaders - and rightfully so - but it's Odom that has been the stabilizer for our squad. He's been the bridge between our first and second units, the guy that organizes team dinners and brings in a chef for training camp, the guy that is in the middle of the huddle motivating and inspriring our guys for the battle ahead, and the guy whose lighthearted nature and devotion to the team keeps the locker room loose. We need this player."

Hedo TurkogluZach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily: "[T]o other teams, is [Hedo] Turkoglu really worth close to eight figures? John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating isn't perfect, but it's probably the best method we have of comparing players. Turkoglu's PER this season was less than Travis Outlaw, Marvin Williams, Grant Hill, Rudy Gay, Anthony Randolph and Richard Jefferson. And PER often punishes player who are shut-down defenders - something Turkoglu is not. We all know the intangibles of Hedo Turkoglu - his ball-handling skills, his abilities to create mismatches, his knack for shooting well in the clutch - are why he's so valuable to the Orlando Magic. But it can't be ignored how much Turkoglu fell off from last season to this season ... It's not like 30-year-old players regularly bounce back after down years. It's hard to imagine the Magic, or any team, think Turkoglu's career year of 2007-08 is the norm. The Turkoglu we saw this season is likely what most people expect out of Turkoglu going forward. Is 16-5-5 with a poor shooting percentage worth $10 million?"

Varejao and HicksonJohn Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "A rotation big is hard to find. Really hard to find. And even if Andy [Varejao] comes back, this team, as Ben Wallace's corpse made clear in the ECF, is having trouble filling those minutes, especially considering Joe Smith seemed to be out of the playoff rotation. JJ Hickson is a great prospect, but even he has serious question marks at the defensive ends. The good news: LeBron James can give you 15 absolutely unbelievable minutes at the 4 on a nightly basis. The numbers were eye-popping ... this season when he played at the 4: A PER of 38, 39/11/8.5, and 2 blocks per 48 minutes, a higher net +/- per 48 minutes than his minutes at small forward, and he holds his man to less than a league-average PER defensively. And this is all with Wally [Szczerbiak] holding down the three spot and essentially doing nothing and getting exploited defensively. In the playoffs, Wally was simply too much of a liability. With a true rotation-quality swingman, the Cavs could take advantage of LeBron's ability at the four without leaving a hole, and it's much, much, much easier to get a rotation-quality swingman than a rotation-quality power forward."

THE FINAL WORD
Truth About It: The quotable Flip Saunders.
Celtics Hub: The Big Green honor the king of green.
Roundball Mining Company: The latest export to Asia? The Denver Nuggets.

(Photos by Noah Graham, Jesse D. Garrabrant, Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Shootaround

January, 22, 2009
1/22/09
11:18
AM ET

LeBron James, jump shooter?  Michael Redd, the paragon of offensive efficiency? Julian Wright, the answer to the Hornets' depth problems?  The TrueHoop Network explains all.  

LeBron JamesJohn Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Now, everyone pretty much can agree that LeBron shooting more Jumpers would be a bad thing -- the league's absolute best jump shooters off the dribble shoot jumpers at around an eFG of 47%, and LeBron's overall field goal percentage is at 50%, and when he's at the basket he converts 72% of his opportunities, and that's before you factor in the fouls he draws.

So the theory goes that his making more jumpers would not only help his percentage by having him make the shots he's going to take anyways, but that having a good jumper would 'open up' his game and allow him more space for drives to the basket.

Tonight's game stood as direct evidence against that theory. For the second straight game, LeBron was uncharacteristically unable to finish at the rim early (4-9 in the immediate basket area), or get foul calls. (4 free throws all night, with two of them coming from a dead-ball foul)

So in the third quarter, LeBron went to the perimeter and started firing deep twos. And making them. LeBron had a 14-point quarter, but it didn't open up any more driving lanes-in fact, it just made him shoot more jumpers, as every field goal attempt LeBron shot in the 3rd was from outside the paint. And since all of LeBron's non-layup or dunk shots come against the 1st defender, it didn't open up lanes for his teammates either-the offense became entirely dependant on LeBron making very tough shots, and LeBron went 1-6 on jumpers in the 4th before just deciding to screw it and flying through the entire defense for two left-handed layups, including one after they tried to double-team him 30 feet away from the hoop. Again, LeBron bailed the team out by making the shots."

Joe AlexanderRob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "The Mavs could do no right in their 133-99 humbling by the shooting hand of the Milwaukee Bucks, an outing in which the Mavs' offense came up as lame as its defense.  If you name a classic defensive blunder, it's likely that the Mavs committed it in this one; the gambles were fruitless, the close-outs on shooters were awful, and the rotations were either sloppy or nonexistent.  Milwaukee simply ran a relay race last night, with the baton passing from Ramon Sessions (perfect 7-7 from the field) to Richard Jefferson (near triple-double) to Charlie Villanueva (32 and 10) to Michael Redd (27 points on 16 shots).  Not only could the Mavs not keep pace overall, but were virtually beaten at every position.  This game is certainly Exhibit A1 in the case against the Mavs' defense."


Terry PorterMichael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns:  "Four losses in five games later and the Suns are moving further and further behind the pack in the West, lucky to stay in a playoff spot if the season ended today only because of the struggles of Dallas after their 114-109 loss in New York. In that stretch the Suns have lost to two teams they should have beaten (Minnesota, Knicks) and suffered an embarrassing blowout (Boston) after losing a hard-fought overtime game in Denver. And nobody has any clue just where the Suns are right now."

THE FINAL WORD  Hardwood Paroxysm: Kicking off the "88 Lines About 30 Teams" series.  Roundball Mining Company: A video demonstration of why the Nuggets might want to rethink their defensive strategy on the perimeter.  Hornets247: Julian Wright builds his case.  

When we last left them, the two ex-Arizona players were admitting to a little rivalry. Now that Jefferson has been given some attention for donating $3.5 million for a practice facility at the university, Arenas has responded on his NBA.com blog.

See, I've been donating since I got into the league, so I've donated more than the $3.5 he did for his selfish gym. It's a selfish gym. It's a gym that is celebrating Richard Jefferson. I'm donating to people. I'm helping people. He's trying to be one of the elite Arizona players ever, which he's not right now. Unfortunately, I had to be the one to say that he's like the third favorite. But I think his stock is dropping. He's like fourth now. I don't know what happened to cause it, but he's fourth now. The R-Jeff market is in a recession.

Richard Jefferson gives $3.5 million to Arizona. ESPN's Andy Katz reports:

Jefferson joked, saying that Arizona threatened if he didn't come up with the naming rights then Gilbert Arenas might do it. Jefferson said he didn't want his former college teammate and fellow NBA player to outbid him.

Gilbert Arenas wrote this on his blog a few days ago

Me and Richard, for some reason, always end up having a bragging session when we're around each other and try to out-do one another. For some reason, he thinks he's better than me. He can't fathom that he's only the third best player from Arizona, and I'm No. 1. He just hates that I'm No. 1. He hates to see me on my own video game, he hates that I'm a three-time All-Star, he hates the fact that he only got a bronze medal ... all of that. He is bitter about it.

John Hollinger breaks down some options in the New York Sun.

And I like his take, because while everyone else is dithering about "ooh, should they trade Jason Kidd?" Hollinger seems to sort things into useful categories: either win now or win later. If you're winning now, trade Richard Jefferson for help in the paint, and ride the Carter/Kidd combo 'til it croaks (which might have been last week). 

Then there's the "win later" angle, which I'll let Hollinger explain:

The other option is what I call the "dynamite" strategy. This involves dealing Carter AND Kidd, because there's no point in doing one without doing the other. Trade Kidd and you end up with a young team surrounding a 30-year-old Carter who no longer has another veteran around to kick him in the rear when he starts loafing. Trade Carter and you take away the best scorer from a team that already had proven its inability to score in the halfcourt.

Either way it puts them farther from a title than they started, so at that point the obvious solution is to make a long-term play, build a new core around Jefferson, Nenad Krstic, and whatever pieces can be gleaned from the Kidd and Carter deals, and hope the kids gel relatively quickly.

My only worry is that I'm not at all sure Kidd or Carter would fetch all that much at this point. But if it makes sense for anyone to build for the future, it's the Nets who will have both the opportunity and the obligation to impress a whole bunch of new fans when the team moves to Brooklyn likely in 2009 or 2010.

Who knows if it'll happen, but I kind of hope it does. As I have written before, I'd love to see Jason Kidd play alongside Kobe Bryant. I think it is meant to be.

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