The San Antonio Spurs made a pretty big trade a few years ago when they were able to acquire Richard Jefferson for Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen, and Amir Johnson. San Antonio said youth and scoring were the key factors in making the swap. In the three years since that trade, Richard Jefferson has not been as productive as anyone would have hoped.
After averaging about 20 points per game from 2003-2009, minus his injury shortened year, Jefferson has not averaged more than 12 points per game, and that was his first year with the Spurs. He averaged 11 points last season, and this year he is averaging the lowest in his career since his first season, at 9.9 points per game.
RJ also has not been able to score double digits in the past five games. So far this season, he has a PER ranking of just 11.56. For those of you that do no understand what PER is, it is a formula developed by John Hollinger who attempts to use all statistics from a game to find the overall Player Efficiency Rating. For more information, and the formula used, check out the Wikipedia page on it.
Anyways, RJ’s PER is horribly low, and his defense has been pretty lackluster too. I understand that Coach Popovich wants to keep things consistent, but it’s time for RJ to move over if he is not going to produce. Scoring 6, 7, 9, 5, and 1 point(s) fo the last five games is just not going to cut it, even with Tony Parker shouldering the load.
I say it’s time to give Kawhi Leonard some more minutes. He plays better defense than RJ, has a better PER (14.08), and when given more minutes and shot opportunities, he has done a better job than Jefferson. Perhaps they should give Daniel Green or Gary Neal some more looks, although those guys would be a little small for the position. The best player, however, would perhaps have to be acquired in a trade.
Whatever Coach Popovich/RC Buford decide to do, it’s time for a change.