It's the perfect time to get excited people. The San Antonio Spurs are not going away, most certainly NOT in a cockroach-y way as Sir Charles Barkley has described us before.
"Fancy meeting you here. I'm doing great, thanks."
The Spurs just had a great draft, heck it was an otstanding draft. But let's not forget the marquee name for just one bit: so what about that Jefferson guy, huh? Yeah you know 'em, but how about a player primer unlike any other? Let's get to know the man behind the bald head and the lousy tattoo.
Okay, it hasn't even officially gone underway but this season is already starting to become interesting. Before that nice, lucky draft we had, the RC Buford interview at Spurs.com provides additional fodder for our championship dreams in the 2009-2010 season. And after all the many "stand pat, reload quietly but be as spendthrift as possible" offseasons that the Spurs front office has indulged us with, we finally experience the big bang, an early candidate for trade of the year if there ever was such an award. Not as big and lopsided as the Pau Gasol thievery of course, but still. Heck, did you even imagine the boring Spurs setting off a flurry of blockbuster trades by other contenders just to keep up? Well I did, but it's still okay if you didn't.
Just a quick-hitting backgrounder on the Richard Jefferson-San Antonio connection before I proceed with the meatier stuff. The Spurs battled RJ's New Jersey Nets a few years back during the 2003 championship, and all I could remember that time was the "fuck Tony Parker-let's pursue Jason Kidd to SA" rumors, and of course the near-quadruple-double title-clinching game. Who'da thunk we'd land the other Net? (not Mr. Hot Lips thank goodness) When he was shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks, Richard Jefferson became somewhat irrelevant. Not irrelevant in terms of basketball play, but moved outside of the usual basketball discussions despite injuries to Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut forcing RJ to become option #1 or 2. I figure now that he's a Spur, not only will he be option #4 (or 5 in some nights when Mason
or Bonner is shooting well), but he'll further drop down the media radar to complete his transformation to a full-fledged, authentic San Antonio Spur. It's like magic, you know, and the perfect Spurs-type welcome.
An arrival with authority.
Let's see... back in high school, I had this religion teacher who told us that the word "know" in Hebrew (or Aramaic I think) actually meant having intercourse, and it was used in such a way for certain instances in the Bible. So the next time you encounter in one of the passages a line like, "I knew her," it means that, yep, he did it with her. Pretty neat and perverted, no? It also serves as an inside joke that you can use when you're at the bar, and telling this beautiful stranger that you'd like to get to "know" each other more. Hebrew/Aramaic translation: Yes, I'd like to get in bed with you please, if you will. Anyway, that is definitely not the way I'd like to talk about RJ. (I just wasted 10 seconds of your life, by the way)
My problem now is - how do I introduce Richard Jefferson to the PtR faithful? How can we genuinely get to know the guy? I thought there are the stat-loving geeks - fans of the thinking kind - who would appreciate some numbers. There are also those who don't give a lick about statistics, but would rather evaluate by watching the person play, knowing what college basketball program he came from, what kind of neighborhood he grew up in, types of girls that he likes, what's his favorite pick-up line, age when he lost his virginity, and all those interesting tidbits. To appease both crowds, let me introduce to you the two RJs - The Jeffersonian (thanks PM Productions for the name) and Rich-J (kinda like the Spurs' version of J-Rich).
He has a split personality, you know.
I'd like to think that all things statistics begin with Mr. Hollinger, so you might want to start by reading his thoughts on the trade here, and if you want it in lament's terms, ATS' breakdown here. Other than that, I thought I'd recycle some stats and bombard you with Jefferson's out-of-this-world numbers. Okay, I'm exaggerating but you get the picture.
For the numbers-averse, here's a graphical representation of RJ's PER history from 2002 (his sophomore year) up to 2009.
Here's the bad news if you haven't noticed already or have not read Aaronstampler's Negative Nancy-ing. For his career, RJ has just been hovering above the league-wide average PER of 15, and nearly went below that last season despite posting 19.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.0 tpg, and being 99.9%-owned by fantasy basketball pundits. His aerodynamic head also didn't help much either. All that jazz, he gets a grade of A, for Average. He even got bashed in some articles for his team playing slightly better when he's on the bench.
Let's look at the PERs of the post-Bowen/Oberto/Thomas roster of the Spurs and see where he fits (using 2008-2009 season stats):
Okay, what the hell does that tell us? First, his PER is freaking close to Bon-Bon's, which doesn't look good. Second, Drew Gooden's PER is 3 percentage points higher, so why don't we just re-sign him? And last, which I hope you realized by now, is that we can't completely rely on this PER shit. I'm no Hollinger or Daryl Morey and I'm definitely not a stat geek, but for the sake of The Jeffersonian, here's what I think are some valuable stats that can also be considered:
Clutch stat. This baby doesn't need explaining. In examining this metric for the 2008-09 season, RJ ranks just behind our Big Three with a 21.7-point production during "clutch situations" - the 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points. Why Tony Parker tops Manu and TD in that list, I cannot understand so don't ask.
Kobe is the top dawg of them all with 56.7 points. Consider the Spurs' clutch-iest players next to the big three, Roger Mason (16.8) and Michael Finley (14.5). Seriously, I'd give the VERY LAST SHOT to them in a heartbeat, but to keep them on the floor during crunch time on a consistent basis? Um, no thanks, I'll take my Jefferson. If we keep on having those heart attack, down-to-the-last-possession games we had last season, the law of averages will surely catch up with the team. What we need is some consistency to stay away from such pressure-filled situations (thereby reducing heart-related deaths in San Antonio and Argentina) therefore, we need the clutchness of RJ + the Big Three.
Jeffersondog FTMFW? Eat yer heart out Mase and Finley!
Team production by position. This one gives us a more scientific look at our areas of need, by position. Here the Spurs rank highest at the Point Guard (2nd highest) and Center (4th highest - I figure they treat Duncan as a center) positions, which are no-brainers. However, our suckiest positions are - you guessed it right - at the SF and PF positions, placing SA at a mediocre 21 out of 30 teams. The Shooting Guard spot is a concern, but it was deflated further because of Manu's absence.
Now, who's saying that a decent big man should've been our priority rather than an athletic wing guy? I say both positions are of equal need, so you experts, stop ratting on the FO for choosing to pursue this one first. Because as Joker said, "it's all part of the plan." I presume this happened to be the most available and desirable scenario out there that's why they pulled the trigger, and whatever Euro-centric plans the FO has, they're certainly keeping it under wraps from everybody. If the season starts and the PF position is completely forgotten, then I permit you to start complaining. (if you live in Mars and aren't up to speed, we got DeJuan-Freaking-Blair in the draft, FYI. Hell-to-the-yeah.)
See? He can guard LeBron! OMG he can actually guard LeBron!!!
The awesome 82games.com has other interesting stats wherein RJ usually turns out as an average player when you consider the entire league, but when placed beside with what we have and what Pop has been sadistically torturing us with, he instantly becomes a decent Big 4th. Fuck what the experts say about him declining and being inefficient. Salary cap be damned, we actually have ourselves a legit player. And guess what? He's miles better than any of whom the team currently has masquerading as NBA role players.
Lastly, let me present to you the trade evaluation of AccuScore, THE leader in sports forecasting. You can read the short and sweet analysis here, but basically what they're saying is that simulations show the Jefferson trade improving the Spurs’ winning percentage by 3.4 percentage points against Western Conference playoff teams, which roughly translate to – wait for it – a whopping 3 more wins!!! That may be small to you but hey, I’ll take it given that the race in the WCF is as tight as ever. Thankfully, AccuScore’s simulation also factored in injuries to both Timmeh and Manu so they’re saying that the winning percentage can go even higher if both play the entire season healthy. Factor in our increased chances against the LEastern Conference and maybe we can push those stats further up. Now, can I get another glass of that CHAMPIONSHIP KOOL-AID?
Rich-J on the Rise
Again, using a high school anecdote, we watched a movie called Looking for Richard in one of my literature classes. It's supposed to be a mix of performances of certain scenes in William Shakespeare's Richard III plus some insights on Shakespeare's relevance up to the present day, but I can't remember a damn thing other than Al Pacino acting as Richard III is awesome, completely modern and bad-ass. On a totally related note, I think RJ has the potential to be that 1996 version of Al Pacino - quite getting old and past his best work, but still managed to contribute to the movie industry a whole lot more than what Shia LeBouf (a.k.a. Matt Bonner less 100 pounds) will be able to contribute in his entire career (sorry, world premiere of Transformers 2 as I write this so I can't help referencing).
"An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told." (Richard III, Act 4, Scene 4)
- kinda like the media treatment of the Spurs, don't ya think?
As for the Spurs, they need not look further for Richard. I have a feeling that Jefferson might - just might, for emphasis and to still maintain a seed of doubt which Stampizzle might like - be the player that can re-energize this franchise through a variety ways. Of course, the reverse (volume shooter, ballhog, poor defender, character issues, choker, etc.) can also be said by the pessimists, but let's try to be on the optimistic and biased side here.
First off, we've had a few hopeful X-factor guys come along in the past couple of years like Pops, James White, Tolliver and Gist. Despite ending up as Euro trippers, D-League regulars or third-string players at best, they knew how to dunk. Oh yes, they throwed the rock down just like how Bill Walton wanted it. Referencing LatinD's fantastic No-Dunk Zone post, we are again reminded that our player with the most dunks has been the indefatigable Tim Duncan with 24 dunkers, a rank of 125th out of 353 players with at least one dunk last season. Compare that to the muscle-bound Jefferson, who has double the dunks at 51 and a rank of 59, narrowly missing out on the distinction of being one of the Top 50 dunkers in the NBA. That's waaay above expectations. If Pop continues to outlaw dunking next season then he can suck it. RJ’s dunks are here to stay. For further proof, here is Jefferson’s body of work:
Shelden Williams gets Hammered! Back at stately Williams manor, Candace Parker, brass knuckles in hand, is waiting at the front door for his husband. Talk about domestic violence.
Ladies and germs, your 2010 Chris Bosh just got Jefferson'd!
Sorry about this. At least Timmy won't suffer the same fate ever again, right? (maybe in practice, I guess)
During the 2003 Finals. Poor Kevin Willis. Hey, at least he was the one who got the ring!
As a Buck. I have a question though. Is Tony capable of throwing up decent lob passes?
Plus here is a list with videos of Richard Jefferson-delivered facials. Amazine.
Enough of the dunks. Basketball-wise, I think we all have a rough idea of what RJ brings to the table aside from dunks: Olympic and championship experience, athleticism, 2-and-3-point shooting, slashing-slash-being able to create his own shot, and I’d assume he knows a little bit of defense. But the question that begs to be asked right now, really, is – who IS Richard Jefferson? Let’s get to know a little bit more about the real RJ, shall we?
He ain't no slim shady, that's for sure.
Scouring the vast lands of Google earth, I managed to come across some information that may come in handy for us to evaluate RJ. You guys are so lucky, some of these are so out of this world that I think even the Spurs front office didn’t have this kind of info when they made the trade. But I guess that is a good thing. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss so let’s leave it at that. Anyway, with the details I got, I’ve come across several conclusions in the evaluation of Richard Jefferson’s character:
1) He has a hot wife.
That''s not her.
Following the lead of Tony Parker and Marko Jaric, apparently Richard nabbed himself a trophy girl, an international supermodel named Teresa Lourenco. I know the photo above doesn’t do her justice. I’d like to provide you a ton of sexy pictures and links, but I’m not ready to get banned on this site just yet. At least Google is everyone’s friend. Hmm… I'd wager that the next Spurs games should also see an improvement on the "watchability" scale.
By the way, RJ was a subject of a nasty John Amaechi-level rumor that one of the New Jersey Nets players was gay. Channeling my inner Hipuks, not that there's anything wrong with that. But a closer look at the investigation reveals that he's actually good with the ladies. Maybe it's that Honest Smile? All I can say is, better watch out CMoney and all the other gamers out there. Richard's got the goods. Even Bill Simmons professed his affection for RJ before. We just can't escape him now. Just ask LatinD.
2) Like Bruce Bowen (bless his heart), RJ is all for the community and the kids.
He’s running a summer basketball camp with the bejeweled and fellow Arizona alumnus Luke Walton at Orange County, California this July, which should melt the hearts of fans all over. Check out the camp’s goal:
To educate youth on the fundamentals of basketball and what it to takes to be the best player you can be.
Fundamentals + best that you can be = Spur written all over, I tell ya. Plus, one of the guest speakers there will be "Top 50 Greatest Player" Bill Walton. Awesomeness abounds. Oh, and he also donated a good sum that built a practice facility in his alma mater. Aww, how sweet. Obviously, he’s a good guy. Are you not convinced yet?
3) He might be the Spurs’ answer to The Black Mamba.
Just take a look at this:
I iz a Spider... or maybe a male version of the goddess Shiva?
With that kind of freakishly multiple arms, who needs team defense? Jefferson can do it all!
4) The Arizona Connection
I don’t have any amazing discovery here. Just that historically speaking, San Antonio has been fortunate enough with two Arizona alumni – Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr (::chuckle::) – giving a lot to the team. I am sincerely hoping that we can get significant contributions from our next Arizona guy for the next couple of years. Okay, please don’t remind me that Jason Terry is also from Arizona and that maybe we should get him. Fuck that.
5) Richard rolls with Da Ali G.
And if Da Great Ali G is to be believed, Richard Jefferson just might be the son of a former US President.
Imaginary prank phone calls: bad for your health.
As ATS likes to say – think about that. (here's also a throwback Ali G ad with TD and Horry)
6) He just might save the world.
Okay, I kid. Just an interesting namesake of Jefferson’s that I came across with. This one’s a molecular biologist with grand plans of saving the world through "open sourcing" – a belief that all scientific tools should be available for use by everybody. Wouldn't it be cool if Richard Jefferson the basketball player did that too? Hmm… motivates me to get back to that cure for cancer I was working on a week ago.
Might as well admit now that this is a massive Richard Jefferson homerism post. If you continue to remain on the negative side, then this old article about RJ’s demise might be of interest. I read it for sports’ sake, but I choose to be delusional and live in this current dream scenario for an extended period of time, or at least until the 2009-2010 season ends with the Spurs not winning. I’m not jinxing it this early, I swear.
We got next: The Young 'Uns (if I'm not feeling hackish.)