Mavs Richard Jefferson: Season In Review
As a veteran, a journeyman and a role player, the job description is usually pretty simple – come in cheap, plug a gap, play smart, and be professional. In that sense, the 6-7 Richard Jefferson gave the Dallas Mavericks exactly what they wanted for by season's end. Originally, Jefferson was thought to simply be another roster filler and was brought in at only $1.5 million. However, the one-time lottery pick proved to be an asset for the Mavs down the stretch of the regular season, especially in the aftermath of Chandler Parsons’ injury.
As seen in the video below, the 14-year vet out of Arizona is still capable of turning back the time machine when the situation calls for it.
And Harp and the guys were right; it almost didn't matter that the bucket wasn't allowed! RJ did this sort of thing so consistently that his teammates probably should've quit making fun of him for being too old to do so ... they never did stop, though ... and neither did he.
Heading into his 15th NBA season, Jefferson was coming off a year for the Utah Jazz in which he averaged 10.1 points and 27 minutes per game in 78 starts. In Dallas however, RJ would only start 18 games (most of which came after Valentines Day), while averaging only 5.8 points and 16.8 minutes. It was the final stretch of the season where RJ earned his $1.5 million payday, averaging 10.4 points in 22 minutes per game in the month of April – helping the Mavs avoid an implosion in the absence of Parsons. And in addition to getting to the rim, he led Dallas in three-point percentage and was asked by coach Rick Carlisle to stay on the floor in some game-deciding defensive trips, too.
RJ heads into the off-season as yet another player on the Mavs unrestricted free-agent list. While Jefferson played a key role down the stretch for Dallas, he is not a top priority, and it remains unclear whether or not he will return to Dallas for 2015-16 season. One thing working in Jefferson’s favor will be Dallas’s need to fill the roster if they are successful in landing one or perhaps two as we discuss in our MAVS + JORDAN + ALDRIDGE: DOUBLE PIPEDREAM exclusive of their big targets this off season. However, until Dallas plays its hand this summer, it is difficult to predict whether or not Jefferson will have a spot on next year’s roster.
This is a good spot to remind Mavs fans that as we go through all our Player-by-Player reviews (including Aminu and Felton and the rest) there can be no determination of the back-of-the-rotation free agents until Dallas knows what it might have to do to secure a better front of the rotation. Not even Aminu's future (or salary level) has been determined by the Mavs yet ... so as you can imagine, RJ's hasn't been, either.
“Richard Jefferson goes hard,” Carlisle said. “When he’s on the floor, you know he’s out there. He’s combative on defense and he’s aggressive on offense. If you leave him open, he makes threes. … I love Jefferson. I love the way he plays. He plays with a lot of force. He plays with as much force as anybody on our team'' ... all of which earns RJ a DallasBasketaball.com Season Grade of C-plus.
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