Email List

Vote 2012Behind The HeadlinesPump PatrolNo TXT ZoneHey! It's Half Off!

Don't sleep on Jefferson
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - They say you can't put a price on comfort.

Fair enough. But if you could put a price on it, how much would it be?

Well, considering most of my furniture came from IKEA, not very much. But what do you expect? I'm not Al Jefferson.

Part of the fun of being a pro athlete, at least in my estimation, is the extravagance of it all. The sports cars, the mansions, the entourage. The trips to Vegas, the diamond-studded earrings. It's what these guys live for.

But not everyone. Jefferson's idea of paradise is a bit different. The Charlotte Bobcats center would rather lay in a bed the size of Rhode Island than waste his hard-earned dollars on a new SUV or another night out with the boys.

And he's got the receipt to prove it.

About a year ago, the 28-year-old forked over $23,287 for a bed you'd have to see to believe. Its dimensions are 10-by-12 feet. That's nearly twice as big as a king-size bed.

So yeah, comfort's pretty important to Jefferson.

And it should be for you too.

I'm not talking about your bedding situation. That's your business. I'm talking about drafting a fantasy team that won't keep you up at night. A team that you can count on night in and night out.

Believe it or not, Jefferson might be just what you're looking for.

Jefferson doesn't have the star power of a Dwight Howard or a Tim Duncan (he's never been to an All-Star Game) but at this point in his career, he may be just as productive. The hulking big man from Mississippi (he was one of the last players to go straight to the NBA from high school), has averaged at least 16 points and nine rebounds in each of his last seven seasons.

When I think of Jefferson, the first word that comes to mind is consistency. Look at his rebounding numbers from the last four seasons.

12-13 9.2 rpg

11-12 9.6 rpg

10-11 9.7 rpg

09-10 9.3 rpg

Big Al has been just as steady when it comes to field-goal percentage.

12-13 49.4 percent

11-12 49.2 percent

10-11 49.6 percent

09-10 49.8 percent

08-09 49.7 percent

That level of consistency is preposterous in today's NBA where injuries and trades are constantly altering the league's landscape.

Speaking of trades, Jefferson is actually a bit of a journeyman himself. The Bobcats will be his fourth different team since 2007.

Unlike some players, Jefferson's fantasy expertise extends to both ends of the floor. Though he's never been considered a lockdown defender, Jefferson has demonstrated a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His steals-per-game average last season (1.0) was fourth among centers.

Something you won't see Jefferson do is give away a cheap foul. In fact, Jefferson showed as much restraint on defense as any center in the NBA last season. His 3.2 fouls per 48 minutes were the fewest in the league at his position. The 6-foot-10, 289-pounder didn't foul out once in 78 games.

That may not seem significant but it actually gives Jefferson a huge leg up in fantasy. While other big men like DeMarcus Cousins and Roy Hibbert are sitting on the bench with foul trouble, Jefferson (33.1 mpg last season) can keep filling up the stat sheet. That's probably why Jefferson has been in the top- 10 in double-doubles each of the last three seasons.

Critics will point out that Jefferson has only been to the playoffs twice in his career. In those two appearances, once with the Celtics in '04 and again with Utah in 2012, his team never made it out of the first round.

So Jefferson hasn't played for a lot of winners. What's the big deal? The Bobcats could go 0-82 for all I care. As long as Jefferson produces, we'll all be happy.

In a way, the fact that Jefferson plays for the lowly Bobcats may be the most appealing thing about him. Jefferson, a free agent this past offseason, could have gone to Dallas and been Dirk Nowitzki's sidekick but instead he chose to sign with Charlotte where he knew he'd be the go-to guy.

Neither of Jefferson's backups at center (Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood) are a threat to steal minutes from him and only Kemba Walker (17.7 ppg) will be competing with him for shots. Jefferson wanted his own team and he got it.

Jefferson, the league's seventh highest-paid center, has been hovering in the 17-19 point range for much of his career but I think a two-or-three point increase seems like a given in 2013-14. Jefferson posted 23.1 ppg for Minnesota in 2008-09 and had a 40-point game last season so he's certainly capable of putting up big numbers.

And don't worry about the sprained ankle he's been nursing. Jefferson is confident he'll be back for the season opener October 30 against Houston.

All Big Al needs is a little rest. Call me crazy, but I don't think that's going to be a problem.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

Powered by The Sports Network.