As a 20 year old coming out of Prentiss, Mississippi, Al Jefferson was a talented prospect. As it turned out, his abilities did not earn him a lottery selection, but it did grab the attention of one Danny Ainge. The Celtics decided to draft Jefferson with the 15th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft.
” Danny Ainge gave me a chance when nobody else did.”
Now, with Jefferson going into the last year of his contract with the Utah Jazz, the 6’10” center says he wouldn’t mind a return to Boston:
[Boston] is my first home,” he said with a big smile. “This will always be my home away from home…“We haven’t had any conversations,” Jefferson said before his match up with the Celtics Wednesday night. “This is all about going out and taking care of business. If I go out and take care of my business, everything else will work itself out. I’m not really concerned about it.”
Jefferson’s NBA journey started with rookie minutes and a small window of opportunity. Though he was a rookie, Boston wasn’t about to limit their newest young player to 6 or 8 minutes per game. Fortunately, Jefferson would prove to be worth his first round selection.
The Celtics would have Jefferson playing 15 minutes per contest at the F/ C spots. He would finish his rookie season with averages of 6.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and about 1 bpg. The following season, Jefferson was granted 18 minutes of floor-time per game. He would improve on his first-year averages, ending up with 7.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 1 bpg. Jefferson’s third year, so his potential start to come to fruition. Granted 33 minutes per game, the 23 year old out of Mississippi ended his third year with 16 ppg, 11.4 rpg, and 1.5 bpg. After that season, Jefferson’s ppg never saw a dip below 15 ppg and his rebounding stayed above the 9 rpg mark.
Again, Jefferson is on the last year of his contract. Yes, Boston is in a place right now where acquiring a guy like Jefferson over the summer would help a great deal. But, as Jefferson himself said, nothing is imminent. That’s likely to change as the Jazz start to talk to their leading rebounder about an extension. It goes without saying that the imminence of any moves by Jefferson depends on how the Jazz handle negotiations with him. With the team now looking surprisingly strong, the last thing Utah needs is to let Al Jefferson walk.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim