The Charlotte Bobcats made a huge move this past off-season by signing Al Jefferson via free agency. Jefferson, formerly a member of the Utah Jazz, is expected to come into Charlotte and make a huge impact immediately. Charlotte has long been looking for a legitimate big man who can score in the post, and they found just that in Jefferson.
Jefferson averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, and you might just see that scoring number rise this coming season. The Bobcats have some very good young talent heading into the 2013 season with Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Bobcats have all the pieces together to have a very competitive basketball team within the next couple of seasons, but players need to continue working hard on their game, and they need a true veteran leader to step up.
Charlotte gave Jefferson a three-year, $41 million contract, and they’re expecting big returns. Most analysts expect the Bobcats to play through Jefferson in the post, and that is exactly what “Big Al” has been wanting over the last couple of years in Utah. The Bobcats want a go-to post player, so you can expect to see Jefferson get a lot of touches consistently each night.
Al Jefferson is one of the most underrated big men in the entire NBA. For a player who is a double-double machine, you sure don’t hear his name brought up in many conversations about the NBA’s elite big men. Now that he is going to have a featured role with Charlotte, you can expect to hear much more about him on a nightly basis. He has countless moves that he can go to at any time, and that makes defending him on the block almost impossible.
There are some concerns about him in Charlotte, and one of those is the consistency of his mid-range shot. There is no doubt that he has improved his shooting touch, but he’ll be asked to shoot at a much more consistent level with the Bobcats than he had to in Utah. With Kemba Walker the starting point, the Bobcats will run pick and rolls as well as pick and pops. He’ll need to learn a completely new offense and embrace it in order to live up to the all the hype.
Overall, this move is going to be one that should work out for both the Charlotte Bobcats and Al Jefferson. There’s a lot of money at stake which certainly puts more pressure on Jefferson to produce, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Bobcats fans have legitimate reason to be excited about the upcoming season. The Bobcats may not make the Playoffs in what is shaping up to be a very tough Eastern Conference, but they aren’t going to be a pushover either. The addition of Al Jefferson will provide them with an answer to the rest of the Eastern Conference big men, and will cause match-up issues to teams that lack the size, like the Miami Heat.