After spending three seasons with the Utah Jazz, Al Jefferson decided to the take his talents to the east and joined the Charlotte Bobcats this past offseason, instantly becoming the highest-profile free agent the Cats have landed in team history. He is one of only two players in the NBA to have averaged at least 17.0 points and at least 9.0 rebounds in each of the last six seasons, joining Dwight Howard in doing so.
Despite a slow start after a suffering an injury to his right ankle in the preseason, Jefferson has picked up where he left off last year. So far, he is averaging a double-double with 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. In the last 10 games, Jefferson is averaging 24.2 points and 11.5 rebounds on 54.8 percent shooting. With Tyson Chandler in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Jefferson has been able to prove himself worthy of being one of the dominant big men in the east.
Still not a believer in Jefferson? Okay, here is some more facts. He scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls and has scored 20 points or more in each of his last nine games, which is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history, set by Jason Richardson from March 19-April 4, 2008.
Jefferson is averaging 21.0 points on 55.8 percent shooting (105-of-188) during the nine-game stretch, which includes three of games with 30 points or more. Jefferson scored 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds on Jan. 17 at Orlando, posting just the third game in franchise history with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. On multiple occasions this season, Jefferson has done things not accomplished by a Bobcats player since at least 2010.
Not only can Jefferson provide the Cats with low post scoring, but he can also open scoring opportunities for his teammates when teams decide to double him.
Jefferson is one of the best low post scorers in the NBA, and his efficiency down low makes him an effective feature for head coach Steve Clifford’s offensive schemes. Basically, the offense is designed to run through Jefferson in the paint. There, he can either look to score inside or draw double-teams and kick the ball back out to Charlotte’s shooters for some long-range buckets.
As a result, the Bobcats are currently holding down the eight spot in the east with a record of 19-27. Last season, the Bobcats finished with a total of only 21 wins. Still don’t think Jefferson is an All-Star?