Al Jefferson talked about how Deron Williams said he was going to make him an All-Star, and how he was going to fulfill his end of the bargain. Al Jefferson talked about coming in and making a difference. Al Jefferson sounded like the model off-season addition.
Then Al Jefferson showed up at 280 lbs. Which is, you know, kind of a lot.
Salt Lake City Tribune beat writer Brian T. Smith has been all over that story, and got the explanation Friday on why Jefferson’s a bit tubbo. Apparently, Al felt he was getting beaten up as a slender power forward, so he and Kevin O’Connor decided that bumping up to 275 would help him. Jefferson just overshot a bit, and that 5 pounds is quickly coming off during sprints.
Having heard the explanation, it really does make sense. Jefferson’s often criticized for his lack of defense and rebounding. And while there are plenty of good post players at 265, with Jefferson’s style, it’s possible adding the extra weight could genuinely help him out. The question now is if those hamburgers around his belly will slow him down in the pick and roll and in the post, where his agility was a huge asset for him. He needs to improve defensively in order to get to the next level.
But he can’t afford for his offense to dip. Jefferson’s walking a tightrope. We’ll see if he slips off the rope. But I can’t imagine Jerry Sloan will allow for him to keep the weight on if he’s struggling. And by allow, I mean “won’t physically run next to him for miles and miles and miles.”