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.
New York police reportedly want to question Kings forward Matt Barnes over a nightclub fight early this morning.
What happened between Barnes, teammate DeMarcus Cousins and other clubgoers?
A rep for the NBA star tells us … Barnes was having a good time at Avenue Nightclub with his teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, when he went to sit at his VIP booth and accidentally “butt bumped” a woman who was at the next booth over.
Barnes claims the woman reacted by slapping him in the face, hard — and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Barnes claims the woman’s crew — which included several men — jumped in and began to get violent. Barnes was knocked to the ground in the melee and one of the men began to choke him.
We’re told Barnes got physical in an effort to protect himself. Cousins also jumped in to defend Barnes.
We spoke with Barnes’ attorney Alex Spiro who tells us, “We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”
By this telling, it sounds as if a crime was committed – with Barnes as the victim. I have no idea whether this account is accurate – what else would Barnes’ representation say? – and it’s reasonable for Barnes not to desire charges even against the other side. But it’s a little strange to hear Barnes’ lawyer give the other side such a quick reprieve while Barnes’ camp circulates this story of Barnes as a clear victim.
Starting for an injured Rajon Rondo, Jerian Grant had 18 points and five steals in the Bulls’ 25-point win against the Trail Blazers last month.
Grant will likely get another crack to start against Portland tonight.
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
Chicago’s net rating with each starter on the court is lowest with Rondo:
But I doubt that’s the detrimental conduct the Bulls are referring to.
Chicago’s other starters have been dynamite with Grant instead of Rondo, outscoring opponents by 28 points per 100 possessions (relative to +10.6 with Rondo, still a robust mark). That’s a small sample with Grant, but we’ll get another opportunity to learn how this team meshes without Rondo.
Remember, though it started with a team-imposed one-game suspension, the Mavericks eventually told Rondo to stay away.
Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.
Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.
Aaron Gordon has backslid this season while playing out of his comfort zone at small forward, but there are still signs he’s progressing from great dunker toward great player – like this crafty inbounds pass off Marcus Morris‘ back.