Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

2012 Report Card: Jared Jeffries

Stats:

Player Age G MP MPG PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% TOV% USG%
Jared Jeffries 30 39 729 18.7 10.9 0.484 0.42 12 5.4 14.2 12.6

Per 36 Minutes:

FGA 3PA 3P% FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
7.1 0.8 0.188 3.6 0.681 3.4 4.1 7.5 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.4 4.4 8.4

In the wake of last season’s crippling four-game sweep at the hands of the Celtics, the memory of his Game 2 brick-handed blunder fresh as a flesh rot, I penned a farewell for Jared Jeffries that closed with this:

He couldn’t shoot. He couldn’t really jump. Oftentimes, he’d react to an arriving pass as if it were a ball of spent uranium that’d been shot out of a canon. Incredibly, his free throw shooting has fallen 227 percentage points since college. His pick-and-rolls were easier to hedge than Fannie Mae, and his presence on the block exhibited all the speed, force, and grace of a beached turtle at low tide.

But no one could say he wasn’t loyal. Even after it was announced he was destined for the sweet, smoggy vistas of Houston, Jeffries — by all accounts a classy guy and solid teammate wherever he’s been — remained gracious. A year later, when the Knicks came calling, he picked up before the first ring even ended. He showed up. And, well, he showed up. Even if he’s not a part of this team’s grand plan going forward, let’s hope he can at least take some success-imparted solace in that one true canto threading past Knick teams godly and godawful alike: Once a Knick, Always a Knick.

Last February’s Melodrama having minced the roster to near gristle, resigning Jeffries – who had recently been bought out by the Rockets – was all the roster-reinforcement the Knicks could muster. As soon as the season ended, I, like many, assumed Jeffrightened gone for good. We were, after all, a team on the rise, with devices on stocking the pantry full of cheaper, more productive provisions and shedding any lingering flotsam from the bad old days. Sadly, fair or unfair, Jared Jeffries amounted to an ugly totem to the latter.

A season later, the same fiscal straits — narrow and holding little to no margin for error — remain. The narrative surrounding Jeffries, on the other hand, couldn’t be more redeemed. After seasons spent enduring more boos than a Christian gladiator, JJ’s glue guy ethos was perhaps the most consistent factor in a campaign riddled with schizophrenic turns and about faces of fortune. His offense was still stuck in the Naismith era – really, the fact that he carved out the court-time niche he did is even more incredible when you think about how high a premium his former coach placed on 5-tool offensive prowess – but his defense, in particular his help rotations, was as highbrow as ever. Oxygen still fled the building in a Martian vacuum whenever he touched the ball, but the Garden crowd finally started to come around to the Indiana product’s sincere, sweat-soaked effort. Where once rained thunderous boo-bird droppings now bellowed cheers of thanks, and a player who epitomized guilt by association suddenly instilled a curious trust, even hope.

Sadly, Jeffries wasn’t immune to the lockout injury bug, missing 26 games with maladies of hammy and knee. As such, he was never able to forge a consistent rotational niche, beyond his brilliant – though somewhat bit – part in the early days of Linsanity. There, like a few otherwise cast-aside teammates, Jeffries thrived in a system for far too brief a spell a genuine testament to its doomed architect’s dreams. Long after the joy of those now seemingly ancient days dwindled, Knick Knation continued to embrace Jeffries as Apostle to an exiled faith. Even on this very board, absence made the mind grow weary. Particularly during the Miami series, when JJ’s length and smarts were much missed amidst Lebron’s murderous limbs. Not that Jeffries’ presence would’ve altered the outcome; but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

Jeffries has already expressed interest in returning for next season and – knowing as he must his place in the contract pecking order – would likely accept the league minimum to make that happen. At that price, JJ would be a cool bargain as the 7th or 8th man, and a near surefire stopper on a second unit whose scoring punch is, at this point, uncertain at best. More importantly, his locker room likability and media-thickened skin make for dividends beyond the box score. Funny how a player once pegged the weakest link – and whom so many assumed would be the first cast adrift for the sake of moving forward – has become an almost indispensable part to maintaining this fickle semblance of progress. If that’s what we’re calling this.

In the mean time, hopefully JJ can take pride in just how far he’s come in the hearts and minds of a fan base so prone to undue venom. Not that appeasing one of the sport’s most fickle, impatient cadres somehow equates to redemption, of course. If anything, it’s in those very salutations — the cheers for a humble, once-banished soldier — that we might find a little for ourselves.

Grades (5 point scale):
Offense: 2
Defense: 4
Teamwork: 4
Rootability: 3
Performance/Expectations: 3
Final Grade: B-

30 comments on “2012 Report Card: Jared Jeffries

  1. Jackaroe

    Longtime lurker here. I’m considering it quite a testament to Jared that after everything, his report card got me to write my first post!

    Beautiful write-up (love all your writing, Jim). But I must quibble with the grades for rootability and performance/expectations. Your whole article was an ode to both of those qualities! Considering the fact that his effort and hustle earned him a role beside chandler/lin/novak as a legit fan favorite after being vociferously booed to start the season, I submit that those two grades should be upgraded to 4.

    I seriously cannot believe that my first post on this site is a passionate defense of jared

  2. Jackaroe

    Longtime lurker here. I’m considering it quite a testament to Jared that after everything, his report card got me to write my first post!

    Beautiful write-up (love all your writing, Jim). But I must quibble with the grades for rootability and performance/expectations. Your whole article was an ode to both of those qualities! Considering the fact that his effort and hustle earned him a role beside chandler/lin/novak as a legit fan favorite after being vociferously booed to start the season, I submit that those two grades should be upgraded to 4.

    I seriously cannot believe that my first post on this site is a passionate defense of jared jeffries. That fact alone should be cause enough I raise the grades.

  3. 2FOR18

    A little credit to MDA is due regarding the loyalty he showed to Jeffries. When MDA called out the fans for booing Jeffries, it stopped immediately and a lovefest ensued. He’s exactly the kind of cheap, defensive minded role player this team needs.

  4. ephus

    Great write-up, but I agree with Jackaroe that the rootability and performance/expectations scores should be bumped up. I can’t believe that I would be happy to have Jeffries return.

    I am concerned how Jeffries will be impacted if the NBA cracks down on flopping. I do not think that Jeffries flops, but a lot of his value came from his ability and willingness to take a charge. If he is not going to get those calls next season — or if, even worse, they will be called blocks — he is not nearly as valuable on defense. I think the Knicks should bring him back, but they will have to monitor the situation closely.

  5. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    TS% .484 with a usage of 12%. Can’t dribble or drive. No jump shot. No post game. Makes Chandler look like Durant. How is his O not a 1? I think there’s no worse offensive player in the league.

  6. Frank

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    TS% .484 with a usage of 12%. Can’t dribble or drive. No jump shot. No post game. Makes Chandler look like Durant. How is his O not a 1? I think there’s no worse offensive player in the league.

    There was a much worse offensive player on the same team – Toney Douglas had a TS% of 39.3 on a 24.76 usage!

    It’s difficult to really appreciate how awful TD was this year. You have to wonder, though, whether he may have some trade value around draft time. I don’t think everyone in the league think he’s a lost cause, and it was pretty recently (2010-11) that he led the league in 3′s made after the ASB. He’s still probably an above-average defender. At worst he is a $2M expiring contract, at best he could be a valuable 7th-9th man in a rotation that is still on his rookie contract through 2013-14. My guess is that Grunwald is trying hard to trade him for a very late 1st rounder.

  7. thenamestsam

    I agree with the comments on the scores. His rootability and performance relative to expectations were both a 4 for me, but I can’t help but think there should be a negative sign in front of that offensive score. Not many players elicit groans from their home fans while their shots are still in the air. The only good thing you could say about his offense is that he had great synergy with Novak in terms of setting screens to get him looks. That said, on a team whose high usage players are basically in place he’s a fine role player and I would be very happy to see him return for the minimum.

  8. PutInRolando

    Great writing.

    JJ was proof that MDA valued defense and teamwork, more than he did the ability to gun. (And I think you’d find that the Knicks played worse with Melo and JJ on the court together because Melo was demonstratively dismissive of JJ’s contributions. Melo is unwilling/unable to see the game moving around him; he values trying to put the ball in the hoop, or as some say on the playground: “You have to shoot to score.” JJ cannot do that so Melo doesn’t trust or respect JJ’s virtues.)

  9. Frank

    PutInRolando:
    Great writing.

    JJ was proof that MDA valued defense and teamwork, more than he did the ability to gun.(And I think you’d find that the Knicks played worse with Melo and JJ on the court together because Melo was demonstratively dismissive of JJ’s contributions.Melo is unwilling/unable to see the game moving around him; he values trying to put the ball in the hoop, or as some say on the playground: “You have to shoot to score.”JJ cannot do that so Melo doesn’t trust or respect JJ’s virtues.)

    Did you just make up the Melo/JJ thing or do you actually have any shred of proof of this? My guess is that you just made it up out of thin air because of some anti-Melo agenda you have for some reason.

    I have no problem with people criticizing Melo, and I have done it myself. But when you just make stuff up out of nowhere you need to be called on it.

    By the way – the playground axiom is correct: “you have to shoot to score”. How else are you going to score?

  10. Frank

    From Tommy Beer at Hoopsworld – list of PG’s on the market:
    Unrestricted:
    Nash
    Dragic
    Felton
    Jason Terry
    Billups
    Andre Miller
    Kirk Hinrich
    Deron Williams most likely
    Possibly Jameer Nelson too
    Also- Ramon Sessions just opted out of his option year and is UFA
    And others (Kidd, D.West, CJ Watson, Randy Foye)

    Restricted
    Aaron Brooks
    DJ Augustin
    Jeremy Lin of course

    It is just crazy how many PGs are available. A few of these will be stuck standing when the music stops, and will have to scrounge for minimum contracts. My feeling is that we can probably find a good one to play behind Lin.

  11. KnickfaninNJ

    I seem to remember Melo getting absolutely ripped by fans for passing to Jeffries underneath the basket at the end of a 2011 playoff game. I also noticed there are many many times when many of the Knick players on the floor with Melo treat the ball like a hot potato and pass it to him in the evident expectation that he will do some magic and score. So I don’t think it’s fair to Melo to complain he doesn’t see the othe splatters enough

  12. JK47

    The Knicks are apparently having a look at Argentinian PG Pablo Prigioni. I don’t know much about him, but he’s 35 years old, 6’3″ and apparently a pass-first PG who has a good defensive reputation. Interesting candidate as a potential backup PG. Can’t be any worse than what we ran out there last year.

  13. TelegraphedPass

    JK47: The Knicks are apparently having a look at Argentinian PG Pablo Prigioni. I don’t know much about him, but he’s 35 years old, 6’3? and apparently a pass-first PG who has a good defensive reputation. Interesting candidate as a potential backup PG. Can’t be any worse than what we ran out there last year.

    It’s much more difficult for me to evaluate foreign prospects who aren’t participating in workouts or combines, so I have no idea what to make of the idea.

    It’s unlikely that he’ll be a useful penetrate-and-kick PG at his age, so it’s very important that he be a great 3 point shooter along with that passing ability. He has a good defensive rep, but I’m not sure the Euroleague has him guarding guys with the athleticism and finishing ability of Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Ty Lawson, etc.

    I honestly don’t see the use in signing him with my incredibly limited and Youtubed knowledge of his game, but I like that the front office is exploring international prospects.

  14. nicos

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    TS% .484 with a usage of 12%. Can’t dribble or drive. No jump shot. No post game. Makes Chandler look like Durant. How is his O not a 1? I think there’s no worse offensive player in the league.

    Jeffries was nowhere near the worst offensive player last year- check out Jamaal Magloire’s numbers (TS% .36 with a turnover rate of .27!). At least he’s an active screener, understands where he’s supposed to be in whatever set the Knicks are running, and hits the offensive glass- still not sure that’s enough to get him up to a one but I don’t think he’s the worst in the league.

  15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Yikes! You’re right. Still, he’s gotta be in the bottom 10% of the league. At least he doesn’t think he’s an offensive talent.

  16. ruruland

    Jeffries was actually making his mid range shot at a pretty decent rate last year. Maybe Frank can back that up.

    If he can make that shot then he’s not a total offensive liability. Obviously he’s always going to have an abysmal TS%. Many of his shots are put backs around the rim. Basically anything he gives you is found money. How often have we seen jeffries miss 3-4 consectuvie shots under the basket? Obviously he’s a horrible ft shooter, too. But his screens do help create larger driving avenues, and he’s probably the best possession creator on the team.

    Obviously his prescence forces you into 4-5 offense some of the time, but evaluating his offense solely by TS is pretty ridiculous.

  17. BigBlueAL

    I know this is a Jared Jeffries thread but have to talk about Game 4 right now. I love Harden as much as anybody but holy shit has he been awful this series especially tonight. He aint getting a max contract after this series lol

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    BigBlueAL:
    I know this is a Jared Jeffries thread but have to talk about Game 4 right now.I love Harden as much as anybody but holy shit has he been awful this series especially tonight.He aint getting a max contract after this series lol

    Game 2 was good for him. And 8 points on 10 FGA isn’t abysmal, but it sure isn’t good. He also led the team in rebounding, two of which were offensive.

  19. d-mar

    As great as Westbrook was, he let Chalmers blow by him twice for layups and of course had that brain fart after the jump ball.

  20. jon abbey

    Harden is really overrated, no way is he a max player. he is in the perfect situation right now as one of the top few sixth guys in the league behind Durant and yes, Westbrook, and hopefully won’t leave for more money to a situation which will almost certainly be a worse fit.

    offensive efficiency and rebounds continue to be overrated by the number brigade, amount of energy one forces the other team to expend a la Westbrook and Melo, underrated (‘usage’ gets at this but not nuanced enough, I don’t think).

  21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jon abbey:
    Harden is really overrated, no way is he a max player. he is in the perfect situation right now as one of the top few sixth guys in the league behind Durant and yes, Westbrook, and hopefully won’t leave for more money to a situation which will almost certainly be a worse fit.

    offensive efficiency and rebounds continue to be overrated by the number brigade, amount of energy one forces the other team to expend a la Westbrook and Melo, underrated (‘usage’ gets at this but not nuanced enough, I don’t think).

    You must have missed the post a few days ago where Westbrook was shown to be standing around, doing almost nothing while Ibaka and Harden were lighting up playoff teams. Westbrook may be athletic, but he doesn’t make teams “expend” more energy than any other driving, shoot-first point guard. Almost all NBA players require guarding. All playoff starters require defensive energy to be “expended.” Why don’t you make the same argument for the endless curls of Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton? How is Westbrook’s game different from any player who penetrates or runs motion sets?

  22. jon abbey

    tonight’s game made it pretty clear, more than my words could. even Magic apologized to Westbrook afterwards: “play your game, Russell Westbrook. don’t listen to Magic Johnson.”

  23. Z-man

    I was talking with a friend last night who brought up the whole “you have to learn to lose before you can learn to win” argument. Seems true for OKC and in retrospect for Miami.

    Westbrook was sensarional last night, no two ways about it. Compare his performance to any LeBron performance in last year’s finals. Yeah, he screwed up at the end, but this is a 20+ pt blowout without him. I agree that Harden is not a max player yet, and that he has stunk in this series…even in game 2 he had two very dumb charges..but he is just a kid and will definitely get better, as will Westbrook and Durant. Ibaka is very good too. Maybe they need to find a pass-first PG and move Westbrook to the 2?

  24. Frank

    jon abbey:
    Harden is really overrated, no way is he a max player. he is in the perfect situation right now as one of the top few sixth guys in the league behind Durant and yes, Westbrook, and hopefully won’t leave for more money to a situation which will almost certainly be a worse fit.

    offensive efficiency and rebounds continue to be overrated by the number brigade, amount of energy one forces the other team to expend a la Westbrook and Melo, underrated (‘usage’ gets at this but not nuanced enough, I don’t think).

    Some of what we’re seeing with Harden is that he is not getting the same calls as he was getting in the regular season, and for whatever reason, he’s lost his confidence shooting the ball. His overall playoff numbers are great – TS 60%, shooting 41.4% from 3 – but in this series, he is 13 for 37 from the field (35%) and 28.6% from 3 point range. He has only 18 FTA in 4 games, and has missed 5 of them (72%) — all equaling a TS of 47.9%. He is absolutely killing the Thunder in this series.

    Last night was the worst, because I would wager that at least 4 out of 5 3 point attempts were wide open shots — like no one even really contesting him. You can chalk up this performance to “randomness” but it doesn’t change the fact that he (so far) has come up extremely small in the biggest spot. RW and KD have done their part.

    Last thought – I must admit I hadn’t seen Ibaka play much, but no way is he a max player or worthy of a top 2 or 3 DPOY vote. What makes Tyson and DH12 so great is that they play great D without biting on pump fakes and drawing stupid fouls. Ibaka is very young of course, and might get it together, but he’s out of position seemingly all the time. As he gets older and more experienced, his positioning might get better – but then maybe his hops will go away.

  25. chrisk06811

    Frank:
    From Tommy Beer at Hoopsworld – list of PG’s on the market:
    Unrestricted:
    Nash
    Dragic
    Felton
    Jason Terry
    Billups
    Andre Miller
    Kirk Hinrich
    Deron Williams most likely
    Possibly Jameer Nelson too
    Also- Ramon Sessions just opted out of his option year and is UFA
    And others (Kidd, D.West, CJ Watson, Randy Foye)

    Restricted
    Aaron Brooks
    DJ Augustin
    Jeremy Lin of course

    The guy I’d love from this list as a backup is Andre Miller, but I don’t think he will play that cheap. I fear we may have to welcome back Ray Felton, which really might not be that bad a deal.

  26. Kikuchiyo

    I love what JJ contributes. B+ from me (although the injury did hamper him considerably)

    As for flopping, I don’t think the national conversation has yet shown much nuance. Is establishing position and then falling on contact flopping? In a way it surely is. I’m actually embarrassed for Battier watching him hit the deck on almost every possession. Nonetheless, Battier, when he’s not being a douche, takes charges in the same way JJ does. Establishing position, to me, is something quite different than simply collapsing into a heap with or without contact. Nevertheless, when you think of Battier or JJ taking charges, you think of them as not even raising their hands to defend. I’d change the rule to say that you must be making a reasonable effort to defend. If your hands aren’t up, you’re just a dangerous obstacle and should not get the call. What do y’all think of that detail?

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