Al Jefferson has probably been the best player for the Utah Jazz during the 2012-2013 NBA season. He’s also been a major reason why the Jazz are currently 32-29 and are competing for a Western Conference playoff-spot.
Jefferson leads the Jazz in both rebounds and points per game, averaging 9.4 and 17.7 respectively. He also leads Utah in Player Efficiency Rating, currently posting a 20.98 rating. However, one of the interesting things about Jefferson is that he’s part of an incredibly log-jammed frontcourt in Utah.
The Jazz have Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter currently on their roster, all four whom have proven that they can produce when they are given the opportunity. The problem is that there are only so many minutes to go around. That decision has been made a little easier over the past three games for the Jazz as Jefferson has sat out with an ankle injury, allowing Favors the start and Kanter to see all of the reserve minutes.
Favors getting the start for the Jazz with Jefferson sidelined is actually a glimpse into the future. Both Jefferson and Millsap will be free agents at the end of this season and it’s widely assumed that both players will be coveted by a multitude of teams around the league. Given the market for Millsap and Jefferson, it’s unlikely that the Jazz will be able to afford to keep both of them. And really, with all of the talent they have in their frontcourt, they can actually afford to let one or possibly both of them go.
The Jazz are just 1-2 without Jefferson in the lineup, but his absence has given the organization and the fans a glimpse into what their team will most likely look like next year and in the years to come. There’s a pretty good chance that Jefferson isn’t in Utah next season, so it’s actually not a bad thing that the Jazz are getting to see how the team plays without him, even if they are in the middle of a playoff-race.