Is Jefferson a liability on the Spurs’ offense?


Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal made a list of the least effective offensive options for each NBA team. The list includes players that averaged at least 20 minutes per game during the 2010-11 regular season.

For the San Antonio Spurs, Fromal thinks Richard Jefferson deserves the dubious distinction.

Here is what he had to say:

“Something tells me that this is not what the San Antonio Spurs expected from Richard Jefferson when he became a member of the team back in 2009.

The small forward may have averaged 11 points per game this past year, but he was on the court for over 30 minutes per contest, so that should be expected. He was careless with the ball and really struggled to create any offense for himself.

On a championship-caliber team like San Antonio there is really no place for a player with Jefferson’s offensive disabilities to be getting the minutes he’s getting.”

Fromal may have a point, to validate his claim, I used some stats among other Spurs players to compare his production last season.

The Big three obviously played better than Jefferson so I did not use them as a point of comparison.

Instead, I went with Neal, Bonner and Blair to compare Jefferson’s numbers. These players were a major part of the Spurs rotation last year and each has averaged at least 20 minutes per ball game.

2010-11 Per Game Stats 

Richard Jefferson: 11.0 points, 1.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds, PER 12.42

Gary Neal: 9.8 points, 1.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds, PER 13.20

Matt Bonner: 7.3 points, 0.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds, PER 13.54

DeJuan Blair: 8.3 points, 1.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds, PER 17.20

Compared to Neal, Blair and Bonner, Jefferson’s number were actually better. However, he also averaged the most minutes per game among the players.

In this case, John Hollinger’s player efficiency rating (PER) should be used because it is a rating of a player’s per-minute productivity.

What is PER?

PER is used to outline the value for each player’s accomplishments.

That includes positive accomplishments such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls.

Two important things to remember about PER are that it’s per-minute and is pace-adjusted, it used to summarize a player’s statistical accomplishments in a single number.

Using PER, reveals that Jefferson is indeed the least effective offensive option when compared to Blair, Neal or Bonner or to the starting five for the that matter.

That says a lot, considering Jefferson started in 81 regular season games for the Spurs last year.

What do you guys think? Do you agree that RJ is the least effective offensive option on the team? Share us your thoughts.

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22 thoughts on “Is Jefferson a liability on the Spurs’ offense?

  1. Pingback: Is Jefferson a liability on Spurs' offense? « Spurs World | | The Spurs StoreThe Spurs Store

  2. RJ doesn’t really suck as a player but he is overpaid, if he can scored 11 points in 30 minutes as the fourth wheel on offense that’s fine with me but he has to be a better defender to compensate for his lack of production.

  3. Not to bash RJ, but has has really underwhelmed n two seasons with the Spurs. San Antonio took a risks at signing him to a four year extension and now his contract is almost impossible to move.

    Even Bonner who has always been ridiculed because of his poor defense actually plays more efficiently than RJ. Unbelievable!

  4. The Spurs may have expected too much from Jefferson, but the truth is the guy never delivered especially in the playoffs.

  5. Jefferson is no longer the same player he once was and he is not a good fit to the Spurs system. He needs a pure point guard like Jason Kidd to flourish, that is the main reason why he is not so effective for the Spurs.

    The Spurs has to trade him.

  6. Rj’s also playing against starters the majority of the time. think of most of the guys he has to defend. Pierce,lebron, durant, mello, gay, granger etc. so you have to think he is never going to be a 1-3 option scorer.

    • bigtee34, You made a good point, I believe RJ is the 4th wheel on offense, IMO 11 points per game in 30 minutes ain’t so bad. The problem is he is only an “average” defender.

      The fact is, RJ should have known his role with the Spurs after two years but he hasn’t. Right now he is just a solid role player at best. Making him overpaid, so I kinda agree with Fromal’s take.

      Thanks for the comments and reads everyone! I appreciate it!

  7. Ah, yes still pondering after two years. I said it once’s before all the above reasons given are right. But everytime I mention cut/trade all the above reasons are either right or wrong. Let go of your loyalty to some players, pet cats, and start looking at the business side of things. RJ at best a fourth wheel option by production or lower, things will start looking different when you weight (Pos+) vs (Negs-). When the FO took a chance on RJ they knew what they were getting and somehow they thought deep down inside they could change his game from a run and gun NJ team to a half court game. Notice, some of RJ’s spectacular slam dunks are in open court and teams that are slower than us getting back and defending, it almost reminds me when he use to play in NJ. PG is not the problem here it’s RJ who has not adjusted to SAS system, and by now he never will. Great keep if the NBA season is short. Great trade to some team that needs a SF such as (Indiana again, Toronto, Utah or NO) that have a need for his skills and have what we need. My appology another story for another day just trying to bait (Robby Lim) again into opening another can of worms. And on the flip side what we have at SF after that SCARES me even more. I mean RJ still has a lot of trade value, and years left in him so either do it now or don’t, he is what I called a WALLSTREET player stock up, stock down you just have to know when to get rid of him NOW. With all dues respects Robbin another reply to one of your past articles about who is better TP or Rondo I believe this whole week one of the big stories has involved Rondo and Obama as to why Rondo play has gone down. TP the BEST. GUTS. THANKS ROB for keeping me busy while the lock out, my wife on the other hand is also a SAS fan for life but still think this here is childish because we dont own the team.

      • Robby Lim
        Robbin, readed your link, awesome and realistic scenarios; However I perfer only the Josh Smith trade, myself. I don’t think we have to give much up but RJ, AMac, and Butler. I was trying to pick your brain because I don’t know if you had seen espn Ric Bucher article on the Spurs clearing house trade scenarios, that started a Nasty Storm w/lighting and heavy winds for himself from Spurs fans. However; he did have a scenario for Josh Smith in his article but Spur Nation FAN’s spoke out and agree his scenarios were not realistic enought giving up the ship before Damage Control which I believe we are in now, not yet in a recession, Spurs Nation people went as far as saying he was on crack or something like it. I still believe in a three team trade with Indiana, and Utah where we get Al Jefferson and Roy Hibert.

  8. Joe, the Butcher trade scenarios is a bit ridiculous in my point of view. It would be a coup if we can get Josh Smith for Jefferson. But getting Al Jefferson and Roy Hibbert sounds interesting. Can you send me the details of that trade proposal?

    For the record, I may be the first about this RJ trade speculations as I wrote them as early as May. By the way Spurs Nation is a great Spurs site. I enjoyed reading their articles.

    tophatal, You always put a smile on my face with your witty humor. You may sound too harsh on RJ, but yeah he didn’t live up to expectations especially in the playoffs.

    Thanks guys for the regular comments and reads!

  9. Robbin:
    The write up for this trade scenarios were done just before the draft. I readed it because it started as best players available that are unhappy with there current teams. Big Al Jefferson is with Utah and Roy Hibert with Indiana because expectations not achieved. I do like your trade for Josh Smith but thats the only one I would consider. I don’t think we would have to unload the ship yet because this is more realistic RJ, Butler, and the catch AMac’s contract attracts a lot of teams, imagine this some team taking him and then dumping him again and we pick him up later in the year sound familiar. I also have gone into espn trade machine where you can actually simulate trades an get and answer such as yes it will work or why it won’t (e.i. over the CAP, how many more projected wins/losses). It does all the work for you, I just have’nt heard you say anything about this neat toy. Guy’s and Girls that are on this site need to go check this out and play with it.

  10. tophatal, That’s another good one on RJ my friend! :D

    Joe, I actually used that ESPN trade machine several times to check if the trade on top my head works so I’m pretty much familiar with it.

    I’m asking for the details of the RJ+Butler+McDyess for Al Jefferson+Roy Hibbert proposal, if it’s reasonable enough maybe I can make a post on it and give you credit (acknowledge) you for the idea.

    IF it goes through, rest assured that I will mention your name on the post.

    Thanks guys for the comments and the regular reads.

  11. Robbin:
    This trade scenario I really don’t remember where I readed part of it. I read a lot of blogs and don’t even know how I get in them most of the times, its like link after link and then I don’t save them either, so as I was playing with espn trade machine I remember part of it and made my own adjustments from what I thought I remember. It went something like this 1st Team Utah gets J Posey SF, TJ Ford PG, 2nd Team SAS gets Al Jefferson PF, Roy Hibbert C, 3rd Team INP get Richard Jefferson SF, AMac PF contract and Reggie Miller will most likely go for it, lots of CAP space for IND and next year draft crop awesome. My appology got of topic again.

  12. Joe, nice idea, but IMHO, that trade scenario is a bit one sided. At this point I don’t think RJ+McDyess+Butler is not enough to lure Al Jefferson & Hibbert but thanks for sharing.

    tophatal, RJ had his moments especially during the regular season, but there’s NO “wow” factor. Anyone? :)

    Again, thanks for the regular reads and comments.

  13. Robby:
    I know guys it’s been 4 days now beating the HORSE to death. RJ is better then some other options out there believe me, and yes there will be some takers. Food for thought, what if the Collecting Bargaining Agreement(CBA) comes to say that every team can dump a player contract, and maybe it’s RJ’s or someone else Hmmmmmmmm. Say it is RJ then all trade options are off. Nothing in return. Then all this trade talks and speculations will be for nothing and we all look silly. So, because we don’t know what will happen until then we all keep on dreaming or wishing it’s RJ’s, also what if it turns out to be just like the NFL just (hire guns) for 1 or 2 years contracts. I just don’t think our FO would work that way but who’s to say you never know if it’s for the better of the team a year or two of sacrifie, would they take that option? However: they would still be competive. Thanks Robby for putting up with my BS, your’e one of the few people I can talk about the SPURS. Retire Navy Joe.

    • Joe I don’t think you write or think any BS at all. I enjoyed talking to YOU about the Spurs as well as regular readers on this site like tophatal, Tonyforlife, Daniel07, Ramon Esteban, and Mark Mendez to name a few.

      You guys have been the best and that is what keeps me going to continue on with this Spurs blogging thing! :) Thanks! I truly appreciate it guys!

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