Hear me out, just don’t flip at the thought of having one of the slimiest players to have ever played be on your team. Just listen. For a second ignore the gayness, ignore the sliminess, ignore the voice, ignore the face and just concentrate on his game. Yeah, I think Richard Jefferson would be a pretty good fit for the Raptors. I’ve since Day 1 thought that here’s a player that is an out and out scorer, a pretty good defender, runs the break extremely well and can finish in traffic. He’s a good shooter, an excellent slasher and doesn’t settle for jumpers and believe it or not, if you’ve seen him play you know he’s got a high basketball IQ.
Let’s look at his stats for a second. He’s a career 17 PPG scorer (24.5 this year) and has always shot the ball well at 47.6% for his career and is also a good FT shooter (77.8%). He’s rebounding at a 5.5 clip and although he’s not a exactly a distributor at 3 APG he’s got the vision to find the open man when need be. In NJ Jason Kidd exclusive handles the ball and doesn’t leave many assists for his brethren. Finally, the man has an average salary of 13.5M with the contract expiring in 2010/11. As a bonus the man gets to the FT line better than most at his position. Not an unreasonable one by any standard. He’s currently in the prime of his NBA career and will be there for the next few years. New Jersey’s shown some signs that they’re willing to blow it all up and if the Raptors have the ability they should at least offer an ear or even insist upon it.
RJ would play an effective small forward in Sam Mitchell’s system of not having a system. He would thrive in an environment where he can go one-on-one to the rim anytime he wants and can feed off the inside presence of Chris Bosh. If you look at the Raptors right now, off a drive ‘n kick we almost exclusive shoot the jumper. Just ask AP, Kapono, Delfino and Moon who opt for the springer about 80% of the time. Once the PG has created a shot opportunity for us on the perimeter, we generally simply take it instead of searching for a better one. A player like Jefferson who can attack the rim at will and finish with confidence and accuracy is someone that can open up our offense to the point where we don’t go through long droughts as has become our nature. Plus, he’s the kind of player that can truly create his own own shot and can move well without the ball. His slashing and finishing ability is something Bosh will appreciate. A cutter to the rim is usually missing on Bosh doubles with Humphries being the only guy who’s willing to consistently come across and accept the pass in the paint.
It’s become crystal clear that Bargnani will need at least a couple more years to realize about 70% of his potential and that has left the team in a bit of limbo. Not knowing whether to wait on him or get a real second scorer right now is a catch-22 situation, you don’t want to be a mediocre team for too long but at the same time you don’t want to tie up your cap. Jefferson’s a player who will always have good trade value barring injury because of the type of player he is and what he brings to each offensive possession, so we don’t need to worry about wasting cap space with him. Let’s face it, Jamario Moon is at best a band-aid for the starting three spot and if we have any hopes of contending (second round win), we’ll need to upgrade that spot. He’s playing way too many minutes for his talent level and we need to at least give 40% of his minutes to someone who can be an offensive threat.
Now I know what you’re thinking, why Jefferson? No particular reason, I just think that he’s a pretty damn good player who has always been under the radar (insert joke here) because of who he plays with and his personality. Players like Mickael Pietrus and Andris Biedrins might also be great fits but I chose to focus this post on a player who’s always been hated on for various reasons not even counting last year’s playoff series.
I’m going to the game tonight against the Pistons, should be a great one and a win tonight would speak volumes. During the season you don’t get many chances to make statements but tonight is different. See, we got our ass handed to us by Boston and Detroit beat Boston in Boston so if we beat Detroit, by some weird mathematical transitivity we might be better than both Boston and Detroit, huh?
The Wallace vs. Bosh matchup should be fun to watch, ‘Sheed likes to keep it outside and when he does come inside he’s got that unblockable fade which Bosh will have trouble with. I’d say the strategy here is to keep him on the outside and live with his shooting. I get a feeling unless Sam draws up some help schemes for Calderon, Chauncey Billups might just go off. Richard Hamilton’s always played so-so against us so I’m not too worried there. The other matchup that I’m anticipating is Tayshaun Prince on Andrea Bargnani, I know they play different positions but the size and strength here are probably even and worth a look if I’m the Pistons. Oh yeah and rebounding, everybody’s got to hit the glass. Everybody. Including me.
Game recap later. If you’re in the mood to buy some nice Raptors shit, check it. Easy.