Dallas Mavericks: Five Reasons They Need Al Jefferson
Just recently gifted an offer by Minnesota, Mark Cuban and Dallas management reject David Kahn's trade proposal of Al Jefferson for Erick Dampier and draft picks.
Mark Cuban is supposedly looking for a player who can impact his Mavericks similar to the way Pau Gasol made an impact on the Los Angeles Lakers when he was traded there three seasons ago.
The player Cuban is targeting is Chris Paul, but Paul's unique combination of playmaking and speed are already present in Jason Kidd and Rodrigue Beaubois, respectively.
What this team lacks is a true low post presence, a player who can get baskets with minimal effort.
This can be found in a player such as Pau Gasol.
Or the next best thing—Al Jefferson.
5. Al Jefferson gives Dallas a legit three man rotation up front
Looking back at the two teams in the 2010 Finals, both Boston and Los Angeles have true mix-and-match big men rotations.
Boston rotates Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace, and Glen Davis.
Los Angeles rotates Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom.
Dallas currently has Dirk Nowitzki, Brendan Haywood, and Erick Dampier.
Whether Jefferson starts or not—Haywood has been guaranteed the starting job, but that could change—he could give Dallas options that it has never had before.
Big Al has the size (6'10", 265 lbs) to physically abuse most defenders in the league while also being mobile enough to score against quicker opponents.
His ability to operate in the low post could also free up Dirk to get easier looks at the basket.
4. Jefferson allows Nowitzki and Jason Kidd to rest
Jason Kidd, ancient in NBA terms, played 36 minutes per game last year.
Dirk Nowitzki, while not that old, played 37 minutes per game.
Why did they play so much?
Blame the bench.
With the steady eight points and pick-and-pop ability Brandon Bass brought each night gone from last season, the Dallas bench was whoever had a shooting touch that night.
Many nights, that was nobody, so Dirk and J-Kidd had to play much more than they should have to stabilize the offense.
Adding Jefferson into a Lamar Odom-type role should solve this problem. Anything would be better than seeing Eddie Najera as your first big man off the bench.
As noted earlier, Jefferson can get easy buckets against almost anyone, and can distribute the ball to shooters such as former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry.
By the end of next season, the Mavericks could have two Sixth Man winners in three years.
3. Jefferson comes with something to prove
By something to prove, I mean being tossed aside in favor of Darko Milicic.
Jefferson went from franchise savior to halfway out of Minnesota in favor of DARKO!
He is getting dumped by the worst team in the Western Conference for practically nothing.
How will that make him feel?
I suspect that Big Al, if this trade is pulled off, will want to stick it to his old team by playing with passion and desire.
If along with that passion and desire he can become a lock-down defender, I'm all for it.
2. No risk, high reward
All Minnesota is asking for is Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed contract and a few draft picks.
Any first round draft picks will almost certainly end up at the highest 20, so Dallas wouldn't be giving up much in that category.
Jefferson is coming off a down season because of his injury, but looks to return to being a 20-10 guy again this year, which will be hard if he can't start.
However, no one said Jefferson can't be productive in whatever role he is in. Jamal Crawford averaged 18 points off the bench last year and his own teammate Kevin Love averaged a double-double as a reserve last year. And, Jason Terry closes out games with the starting unit.
It's not outside the realm of possibility that Big Al plays well enough that he takes enough minutes away from the starters to average close to 20-10.
1. Al Jefferson IS Pau Gasol
Obviously, Gasol is the superior player, but look anywhere for comparisons between the two.
Both are efficient low post players who also have shooting range.
Both have an huge arsenal of moves that let them score with ease down low.
Both are rebounding monsters, especially on the offensive glass.
Both are agile and run well for their size.
Both have been criticized for their defense. Pau Gasol though, has been able to work on defense well enough that he deserves all-defensive team consideration.
Al Jefferson, in the right environment, could also do the same. The right environment could be a stable, veteran team in Dallas.
Are you listening, Mark Cuban? You wanted your Gasol, and now he's right here for the taking.