Al Jefferson on the left low block brings a certain level of respectability to the Bobcats — they have a guy who can and will score every night, a guy whose presence inside will space the floor and give shooters open looks. That’s why they signed him for three years at $40 million.
What the Bobcats will not get from Jefferson is much defense.
Jefferson is not exactly a lock-down big man… actually he’s pretty far from that. His pick-and-roll coverage is not good at all. He even admitted as much to Zach Lowe of Grantland (you really should read the entire piece).
“It ain’t no secret around the league that I struggle with my defense,” Jefferson says. “My pick-and-roll defense is my weakness. And that’s mind over matter. I just gotta suck it up, get my ass out there, and do it.”
“Suck it up and do it.” Those are fine words, but he didn’t get his behind anywhere near that position in Utah and you can’t expect him to start now.
Charlotte is going to be better than they were last year (when they had 21 wins). That’s not saying much, but they are going to be better because Jefferson gives them a solid point of reference in on the block. Plus, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are a year older and in theory better.
But Lowe paraphrases league executives who think Charlotte signed Jefferson because they can sell him as helping them get better without actually making the team that much better. With Jefferson as the defensive anchor the Bobcats will not be good on that end of the floor, and that will keep them in the lottery. The high lottery. And the theory goes that was the plan all along but they needed someone they could sell to fans. Jefferson does that without making them actually good. So they can get their picks.
It’s something to watch as the season.