OtB is counting down the days 'til the NBA 2009-10 season tips off by ranking the top 50 players in the league. On Tuesday there are 42 days left.
There was a stretch during Kevin McHale's tenure as T'Wolves coach where they looked like they were on the road to respectability. They went 10-4 in January. And then Al Jefferson went down, and that was that. Before he injured his knee, Big Al was going at a rate of 23 and 11. Put quite simply, he's one of the best young big men in the league, and the only reason he's as low as this is the questions always surrounding a season ending injury. Hopefully he comes back strong and consistent as he's been in the past. He's unassuming almost to a fault, even taking a less-than-max contract because he "hadn't proved himself yet." In persona and on the court, he looks to be the next decade's Tim Duncan, though it'll take a big leap in the win column for Minnesota. However, he does share the leap from high school to the pros with Kevin Garnett, with whom he'll forever be linked since the trade between Minny and Boston two summers ago.
Last season, both went out with knee injuries before getting to game number 60. You gotta think Jefferson's gonna look better coming back. And before they went down, Jefferson was looking much more solid as well. There's no denying that Garnett has been a revolutionary player, but Al Jefferson is simply a force in the conventional areas that KG has ever shied from. How dominant can Jefferson be? Look at some numbers in perspective. In only his fourth season, Jefferson was hitting for 23.1 points per game, which is more than KG scored in all but one of his seasons. Last season, the Big Ticket scored less than 16 points per game. Jefferson also went for 11 rebounds a game to Garnett's 8.5. Another solid number for Jefferson is his .505 career field goal percentage, which doesn't scream efficient when compared to Garnett, but it is 10th best among all active players and 81st all time. Let's go a little deeper with our stats, though, as those two come straight from the boxscore outside of which we reside.
Is all this the Skinny or why he's #42? I don't know. Is this unnecessarily meta-? Probably. Is it time to stop? Yeah. Up next, a rookie with, well, swag. 'Til there are 41, S.