It seems like Al Jefferson is taking being an All-Star snub pretty well. I recently wrote an article here explaining why Al Jefferson is an All-Star snub, snub–if that makes sense. Big Al is not only making an argument for being the best center in the East, but he could very well be the best big man in the NBA. The former Utah Jazz big man is the second-hottest player in the NBA right now–next to Kevin Durant. Take a look at his numbers over the last 14 games:
26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.2 steals, 11.7 field goals made out of 21.5 field goal attempts (54.4%), and 3.3 free throws made out of 4.7 free throw attempts (70%) per game.
Remember when people were questioning the Bobcats for “overpaying” for Jefferson? Well, for once it seems like the Bobcats front office made a smart move. All the hoopla in the off season was that Big Al only put up numbers for bad teams and couldn’t play defense. Not only are the Bobcats in position to make a playoff run, but Al Jefferson has been able to prove his doubters wrong.
Basketball-reference.com suggests that not only is Jefferson a good defender, but he might be an elite level defensive big man. According to their site, Jefferson is having a career-best defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). His defensive rating of 99 would be the lowest of his career by four points. Additionally he is on pace for a defensive wins shared of more than wins. Entering this season his career high is 3.3. Let’s put that stat in perspective. Big Al ranks 14th in the NBA in defensive wins shared despite missing nine games this season.
Obviously I am a little wary about these defensive statistics because most of them are very subjective, but there is no denying Big Al’s improvement on the defensive end. Credit should go to not only Big Al himself, but also head coach Steve Clifford.
There is not one stat that can measure Jefferson’s impact on the Bobcats. The best way to show how important he is to Charlotte would be to look at his numbers in wins and loses. When the Bobcats lose, Jefferson averages a mere 17 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor. In Charlotte wins, Big Al averages 24.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor. If that doesn’t show how reliant the Bobcats are on Jefferson, I don’t know what will.