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NBA Preseason: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz - Player Focus Al Jefferson

Stephen Dunn

NBA Preseason 2012-2013, Game 6:

Los Angeles Clippers (2-2) @ Utah Jazz (3-2)

Player Focus: Al Jefferson

This season is a big year for the team, the players, coaches, and front office. But this season is biggest for Al Jefferson - as this season kind of helps reshape the definitions of what he is as a player, and what his career legacy will be. He's in a contract season, and he's in his last year with his third team in his career. If he moves onto a fourth team or not kind of depends on what he does here. Either he sucks, and we don't want him; or he does great, and we can't part with him. (Or he does okay, and we over-pay to retain him -- yikes)

So far this off-season the games have been 'meh'. There are only a few tune up games left, and I hope to see some better rotations this game from Tyrone Corbin. I also hope to see a bit more from our $15 million dollar man. That puts him at $50k less than Derrick Rose, $2.5m less than LeBron James, and $1.3m more than Kevin Love. Not every guy who is an All-Star gets the big money. And not everyone who gets the big money is an All-Star. The question is, is Big Al overpaid (like how Gilbert Arenas and Baron Davis are)? Or is he on the way up and getting better?

This preseason Big Al is averaging 8.8 ppg (40.9 fg%), 1.6 FTA/game, and hasn't come up big when we've gone to him. He is doing better passing the ball, he's doing better showing on defense, and he's doing better with blocking shots. He's about the same in rebounds -- but if he's going to be a top tier guy (and he's paid like it, there are only about 20 guys paid more), he needs to do it all. And that means he needs to show up in the scoring column.

Tonight would be a great chance to shake off some of the rust, and go to work down in the paint. He can't let DeAndre Jordan make him into a jump shooter.