Before RC Buford made the trade to acquire Richard Jefferson, Jefferson was already showing signs of decline. You don't usually get an Olympian and a 20 point a game scorer in the NBA who's under 30 for spare parts and that's exactly what the Spurs got him for.
It's no secret, Jefferson pulled a vanishing act. After a strong start to the NBA season, he slowly became a non-presence for San Antonio towards the end of the regular season and completely disappeared in the post season
The phrase '' You get what you paid for'' doesn't apply to any situation more aptly. What the San Antonio Spurs got was a slasher who lost a step, deteriorating physical skills, and vanished in the playoffs.
The league average PER is 15.00. Jefferson posted a PER of 12.42 this season. According to this basketball metric Jefferson is a well below average NBA player. I believe if it wasn't for the Spurs offensive weapons getting open looks for him and helping him land in the top 5 of 3 point shooters in the league, he would be even more of a ineffective player. I don't think he is a starting small forward in the NBA at this point. And start he didn't in the second half of Game 6 against Memphis.
After playing well in Game 1 of the Memphis series, Jefferson probably had his worst stretch of games in a Spurs uniform. Scoring 0 points twice and scoring no higher then 6 points the rest of the way. He played tentatively and chose to remain an after thought in the offense despite almost everyone on the team struggling on some level. His play devolved to such a level that when looking at the situation at halftime of game 6, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich felt the best chance he had to win was to start his backup shooting guard instead of Jefferson.
When you go out and get a guy of Jefferson's perceived caliber you expect him to carry your team during crucial stretches when other key players are struggling. The problem is he's not of that caliber. At this point in his career he's a rich man's James Jones but being paid more than Manu Ginobilli. That's called a sunk cost.
The poor play by Jefferson this season isn't an anomaly.
He hasn't played at an elite level measured by PER for years. This is the first season he has posted a PER under the league average and you can't expect him to get back to that level. Barring a miracle trade with Chris Wallace, the Spurs are stuck with a very expensive and below average small forward.
Looking ahead, the new collective bargaining agreement could put the Spurs in precarious position relating to the cap. One of the rumored demands from the owners is no more guaranteed contracts. With a guaranteed contract well north of 10 million dollars, Jefferson would be even more difficult to dump in that environment. The Spurs would need to give up something valuable in order to get rid of that albatross of a contract in a trade. It's a tough pill to swallow for Spurs fans, but Jefferson's ineptitude has clouded the Spurs' future competitively.
More than likely, Jefferson and Popovich will have another summer of working together as they did last summer. However, RC Buford has turned water into wine before, but he has his work cut out for him on this one.
i think the same...they just didnt use him as well as they could have..non of these alley oop plays we saw during the start of the season..i also dont think trading tony parker will solve anything either..especially if your getting rid of him for andre miller! if spurs could sign a big like oden, thompson or espcially nene they can get back to where we were
I say keep RJ he wasn't the problem, to be honest the Grizzlies made the whole Spurs team look bad with there bigs and aggressive play offensively and defensively you just have to give Memphis credit they out played the Spurs. What i think the issue is that just as much as RJ had to adjust to the Spurs system they should have adjust to his ability as well put him in more isolation,post ups,quick hitting plays where he can use his athleticism not just a corner 3point shooter he's not Bruce Bowen. He can be more of a Sean Elliot type of player Elliot did more then just shoot 3's he did a little bit of everything and did it well you can't take a athlete like RJ and just say shoot corner 3's that's like taking a shooter like Matt Bonner and saying play point guard that's not what he doe's. But the real story is no size in the middle, plain and simple size matters Spurs should go back to playing there normal style of ball they have always had 3point shooters but there not a 3point shooting team getting out in the open court running more then they ever have before is entertaining and all but it doesn't work in the playoffs don't believe me ask Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns,Golden State Warriors teams like that don't win.All the championships the Spurs won they had bigs even after David Robinson there where decent bigs and at this point in Tim Duncan career he needs all the help in the middle he can get Splitter was a bright spot in this series looking forward to him contribute more next season. I believe Marc Gasol is a free agent that would be a nice pick up but Robin Lopez, Jason Thompson,Wilson Chandler all have an player option i think, two bigs and a defense player that's what they need or a Gregg Oden like Chris32 mentioned don't agree with trading TP. What's up with this Ryan Richards dude get him over here or to the D-league Jason Thompson (Sacramento Kings) could turn out to be a nice young big but whatever happens I've a loyal fan since "87" so I'll ride or die with the SPURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DWIGHT HOWARD 2012? think about it.
Here, here. Couldn't have put it better myself. Grizzlies made Jefferson look like he was running in quick sand. For a slasher who's lost a step, what's left? Start of the season was so promising, which is why the disappearance was even more puzzling. Is he just deferring too much? Is he just not a competitor? Or, have his physical capabilities really left him? Who knows. I would unload his contract if we could. Problem is, Spurs could have endured him for just one more year, then taken the cap space this summer and signed someone bettwe at half the cost. But, noooo, they think they can "fix" him, and sign him up for a longer term deal.
Yikes. More than any other player, Jefferson will be remembered as the one signalling the end of the Spurs "elite" status in the league.
@Chris32 but what team will take on RJs huge contract?
@JeffProjectSpurs @Chris32 You would have to dangle bait in the form of a low-cost young player like Neal, Blair, Anderson, or Hill. Sorry, but that's what it would take. Even then, Jefferson's three more years may be too much to swallow. If he had one or two years, it would be better. Spurs really shot themselves in the foot with this one.
@Chris32 you know who is a restricted free agent? marc gasol. no joke but you know MEM will sign him fast
@JeffProjectSpurs How about this: Parker/Jefferson for Andre Miller/Oden
The money probably works out about the same. Portland upgrades their PG position, while dumping a frustrating situation with Oden. We get a capable PG is return, and possibly the other big Duncan seriously needs at this stage of his career. Problem is Portland's got a lot of good win players, may not have much interest in Jefferson unless we take one off their hands.
@JeffProjectSpurs es, but I don't like replacing him with Hill. Target a young, underachieving PG (or even an underachieving, slightly overpaid vet), and offer TP & Jefferson as a package. Then, you're talking turkey.
@Chris32 you know. with g hill waiting in the wings, would you be OK if the SAS use TP as trade bait?
@JeffProjectSpurs Re-building teams is who you target. Cavs, Kings, etc.