Richard Jefferson was one of the most reliable players on the Mavs roster this season. You knew exactly what he was going to do when he came into the game, and that’s shoot threes to great effect. Even at age 34, he still makes it look easy.
Unfortunately, health kept Jefferson out of Game 5 in the playoffs, as it did several other Mavericks, so he wasn’t able to see the season off the way he deserved to. All that considered, though, Jefferson put together a quality season, furthering his development into one of the more consistent three-point specialists in the NBA.
Jefferson’s three-point percentage led the team, and he was also one of the most reliable and oft-used corner three shooters — his 43.8 percent mark from the spot was bested only by Devin Harris and JJ Barea, in that order. He shot better than 45 percent from beyond the arc for four individual months during the season, as well, a very impressive feat for anyone in this league.
He also displayed the ability to get to the rim with general ease and he could finish at a league-average rate. Chandler Parsons was the small forward most dangerous off the bounce on this team, but Jefferson, even considering his age, can still move well on the ball. He relies on craftiness more now than he maybe used to, but he could make things happen from the weak side, and that’s what made him such a valuable spot starter this season.
This was maybe the most ferocious in-game dunk by any Maverick in the Dirk Era.
Alas, Jefferson was inexplicably called for an offensive foul and the play didn’t count. That didn’t stop the Internet from temporarily breaking as we took a moment to appreciate not only how unbelievable the dunk itself was, but how much more impressive a play it was given Jefferson’s age. It was incredible.
As for an individual game, Jefferson’s brightest moment came in the double-OT win in Denver on April 10, when he scored 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 4-of-8 from three. If you had to simplify it to one game, that would be the one, but Jefferson had so many spot starts throughout the season due to various injuries to others that he proved his value simply by remaining healthy and playing.
Jefferson is an unrestricted free agent this summer. After missing the playoffs last season with the Jazz, I’m sure it was refreshing to get back to the playoffs with the Mavs this year.
That said, with this being Jefferson’s 14th season in the league, it’s unclear how much longer he’ll keep playing, meaning teams will likely offer him a one-year contract. That seems to be the way the league is trending — many veterans almost become nomads toward the end of their career. But this much is clear: Every team in the league needs wings who can shoot threes, and Jefferson is one of them.
As is the case with fellow teammate Charlie Villanueva, Jefferson will be able to hit threes for as long as he can stand up. He’s only shot below 39.7 percent on threes twice since the end of the 2007-08 season, and in today’s NBA shooting is one of the most sought-after qualities by teams around the league.
This season, however, was sort of different for Jefferson. After coming off the bench with mixed success in Golden State during the 2012-13 season, Jefferson was much more consistent this season, but he’s started nearly every game of his career during every other season. It’s good that he was able to play effectively off the bench, as that will make him more attractive to competitive teams with quality starting wings, including the Mavs. So long as he can continue knocking down jump shots, he can almost play for as long as he wants.
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