With the playoffs fast approaching, you may ask the question: who must step up for the San Antonio Spurs? The most obvious response from anyone (national media down to the local fan) would be Richard Jefferson.
Jefferson is always the immediate scapegoat. His respectability diminished when he struggled to produce with the Spurs last season.
The scary sight for opposing teams is that on the rare occasion, Jefferson displays that hidden all-star ability (whether it is a 19-point scoring outburst or making “SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Night” with a thrilling dunk or dazzling layup) the Spurs can take their potential to another level.
Jefferson began the season playing at a high level early, but has deteriorated to a non-aggressive three-point shooter.
Jefferson must find a way to use these last eight games as an approach to find his playoff identity and a sense of who he is going to be through that run.
Will Jefferson awaken the hidden All-Star that lies dormant inside of him? Or will he continue to carry the tag of the “scapegoat”?
The Most Recent Memory of Jefferson
Monday night in the Spurs loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Richard Jefferson had the opportunity to insert himself and make a real impact. Then, the team was missing all three members of the “Big 3”; the stage was set for Jefferson to prove he still has the potential to carry a team and can be more than just a three-point shooter.
How did he respond? He only took five shots and got to the foul line twice.
There are those out there who argue, “He’s the fourth option with the Spurs, he doesn't get the amount of touches he got in the past with New Jersey and Milwaukee.”
Monday night was the perfect opportunity for Jefferson to get as many touches as he wanted, but to no avail, he only attacked seven times. Rookie James Anderson (5 points) and newly acquired swingman Danny Green (7 points) both produced more efficiently than Jefferson in much more limited minutes.