In 2004, the Nets traded a prime Kenyon Martin to the Denver Nuggets for three measly first-round draft picks. Martin had just been voted to his first All-Star Game, and his play flourished alongside Jason Kidd. Since that time, the Nets haven’t had anyone with Martin’s athleticism and explosiveness at that position. Could Jefferson be just that player?
The Nets acquired Jefferson, a Baylor product, from the San Antonio Spurs with the last pick in the NBA Draft. Standing at 6’9” and weighing 220 pounds, Jefferson is a physical forward with a great mix of athleticism and length to match. Jefferson lacks the bulk seen in most power forwards, but does an excellent job at contesting and blocking shots. During the NBA Combine, Jefferson posted a 37.5” max vertical leap, second-highest out of the six players drafted in his position.
If he makes the team from his non-guaranteed contract, Jefferson will most likely share his minutes alongside Kevin Garnett and Mason Plumlee, but his potential to succeed is very high. If Jefferson gets minutes, his ability to rebound on both sides of the glass will benefit the Nets, a notoriously bad rebounding team that finished 29th in the league, only ahead of the Miami Heat, and worse with Kevin Garnett off the floor.
During his senior year at Baylor, Jefferson led the Big-12 Conference in total rebounds with 312. Jefferson performed well on the team’s Summer League roster, finishing as the team’s leading rebounder with 6.8 rebounds per game in five games played.
Jefferson has a limited post game, but he is a tremendous finisher around the rim and can also hit mid-range shots. During his junior year, Jefferson completed 48.8 percent of his mid-range shots, but saw that number fall to 33 percent during his senior year. He finished the season averaging 13.4 points per game. Jefferson will have to polish his mid-range game if he wants to be considered a viable threat from that area.