Big Al’s Time To Shine!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We believe in freedom of speech here at the hideout, and not just the spirit of the phrase but in actuality.

We don’t keep one of those penalty jars for curse words on a counter. Say what you think and we’ll work on the rough edges.

We do, however, have limits. And I must admit that I crossed the line during a recent conversation.

While debating the merits of Al Jefferson over Carlos Boozer as the low post catalyst for the Utah Jazz, someone informed me that Jefferson’s numbers on losing teams don’t compare the stats Boozer put up in a winning situation in Utah the last six years.

I snapped. Seriously, I lost it.

When told that solid numbers on a bad team mean nothing, I couldn’t hold my tongue. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. Jefferson’s work during his final season in Boston and his three seasons in Minnesota all speak to the talent he has honed during his six NBA seasons.

It’s not his fault he’s been on bad teams in rebuilding situations at every stop. But to assume that his numbers (Jefferson was a 20-10 man during his three seasons in Minnesota and has career averages of 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks) are meaningless on a bad team is not only an insult to my basketball sensibilities, it’s also downright foolish.

We’re not talking about craft metrics here, we’re talking about rock solid numbers. In his past three seasons Jefferson’s numbers cannot be disputed — he went for 21.1 and 11.7 his first year in Minnesota, 23 and 11.1 in his second year there and 17.1 and 9.3 in just 32.4 minutes (nearly five fewer than the year before and his lowest per game average of minutes since his second season in the league).

Minnesota GM David Kahn didn’t hide the fact that Jefferson was on the trading block last season, which no doubt colored the way he was used in an offense ill-suited to his skill set. Moving on to Jerry Sloan‘s outfit, where he and All-Star point guard Deron Williams will pick-and-pop opposing teams into oblivion, couldn’t have come at a better time or be a better fit.

Toss in the fact that Jefferson is genuinely giddy to be a part of a playoff operation and you might be able to understand why it shouldn’t be difficult to forecast big things this season for both Jefferson and the Jazz.

If nothing else, the Jazz should be just as good as they were when Boozer (one of the handful of 20-10 guys in the league the last three years along with Jefferson) was patrolling the paint.


  1. KShio says:

    Big Al is a great fit with the Jazz – his attitude ALONE brings more value than anything Booze brought- and I was a big Boozer “skills and game when on the floor” fan…although off court Booze is the Anti-Big Al, which is why getting Jefferson is so beautiful! We’ll get comparable (i believe BETTER) numbers from Big Al, with a younger player than can grow defensively. Big Al was getting 20-10 in MN where he was ALWAYS double teamed, and had to fake/pump/footwork/work his ass off to get to the hoop. Now he can add 5-6 EASY buckets just from the system and D-Will – he could be MONSTROUS this season if he puts the work he says he’s willing to into improved D and consistent boards…
    I can’t wait to see his mid-late season stretch!!

  2. Wiz Guru says:

    Man Big Al is gonna help the Jazz more than Boozer did…yeah booz put up numbers and had a good playoffs until he ran into the Lakers…Al gives them everything Boozer did and with Size he is a Legit 7 footer so when Memo comes back and they meet the Lakers in the Playoffs they will match up better.

  3. ai83 says:

    It is time that Big Al is an all star, is an underrated player, he is among the 4 or 5 best power forwards in the league, not now but for two or three years.
    Big Al is a megastar, Utah hit with his signing, between Boozer and Big Al Jefferson is more player.

  4. erick says:

    completely agree with what he said.
    EXCEPT, the part about beating the lakers.

  5. Rick says:

    yeah big al should have a big year, i see all-star laid out for him this year, he should be good. and his numbers arent just good because he was on a bad team, what about past all-stars that were on bad teams? t-mac? he was amazing on the magic, but towards then end the magic sucked like no other! nobody would argues that he was an awesome player then. what abo0ut kobe the year the lakeshow didnt get into the playoffs? that team sucked but he was still good so yeah nobody can discredit big al, i think he will help the jazz in a big way this year

  6. think says:

    I see your point. I mean if you are the only good player in a really bad team, then the defense of every opponent would just be focused on you. And if that’s the case, then it would really be hard to come up with solid numbers everytime. Sure you may also have more touches than anyone, but hey, if your FG% is not less than 50%, that is still good for a big man.

    Al Jeff has been in untalented teams, but most players will do worse given that situation. Now he’s in a team where Deron owns the show, where they have a solid system, and where they have Jerry Sloan as coach. Al Jeff will just be better this year. Sure there might be a slight bump in points, but as a hard worker, this year he’ll improve in rebounds, blocks and FG% (and maybe assists) just because he doesnt have to carry much load. He will be put in a team with a great system and a great coach. I don’t see him not getting any better.

    If he was putting up huge numbers before… I guess it wouldnt really hurt him to sacrifice some of those for an improvement on a stat he hasnt been accustomed to in a very long time… WINS.