There have been plenty of NBA players that have come to the Big Apple and been ridiculed right out out of town, but none have endured the masochistic snark of MSG faithful more than Jared Jeffries. He of the lean and long frame and permanent look of befuddlement. Sure, he’s been a D’Antoni favorite, so the boos are tough, but how can anyone overlook his missed lay-ups and offensive striving? It’s like saying Scalebrine sets really good picks.
Jeremy Lin excitement aside, Jeffries is the player Mike D’Antoni wants more of in New York. He is secure in his offensive liabilities (maybe not as much as fans would like), but he’s not a ball-stopper, he’s an “intangibles” guy.
What do intangibles encompass? Defensive toughness? Sure, but also defensive intelligence; staying out of the circle when taking a charge near the rim; perimeter defense without hand-checking; blocking out on defense to limit offensive boards; fast outlet passes to start D’Antoni’s spread offense in mini-fast breaks off makes. It’s all of these and more, and I’m surprised anyone thinks Jared Jeffries does all these well.
So, really Rob Mahoney, Jared Jeffries?
Jared Jeffries, Knicks
1.4 steals, 1.8 blocks, 1.7 charges taken per 40 minutes (4.9 defensive plays p40; 7th among qualified players)
The blown layups can be understandably irritating to the New York faithful, but Jeffries brings a valuable versatility to his role as a jack-of-all-trades defender. He is one of just six players to average at least one steal, one block and one charge taken per 40 minutes this season, and even that statistical uniqueness does not do him justice. He is all over the place in the best possible way, and works relentlessly to cover for compromises in the Knicks’ defensive front.
I’m glad Mahoney can reach down into his stats charts and pick out the six players that have averaged 1 steal, 1 block and 1 charge per 40 minutes. Jefferies never plays 40 minutes and, if he did the Knicks would be in more trouble than they already are.
[Off the Dribble; Pic via Chicago Tribune]