In a recent article, former New Jersey Nets, now Brooklyn Nets forward Richard Jefferson was among one of the best players to never make an All-Star Game.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report recently wrote an article listing his nine best players to never make it to the All-Star Game, as former New Jersey Nets, now Brooklyn Nets forward Richard Jefferson was ranked third on that list.
Jefferson spent seven solid seasons in New Jersey, as he averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 489 games played.
As noted by ESPN.com’s own Patrick Dorsey in an article in 2015: “By his second season the versatile 6-foot-7 wing already was a top-20 player in win shares; he finished top-12 in the NBA twice in that category, and was on track for an All-Star selection in 2004-05 (22.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists)—before a wrist injury ended his season in early January.”
The consistent scoring, rebounding and assist numbers posted by the Arizona product would fit perfectly in a modern offense at the small forward position.
Although Jefferson knocked down a solid 33.8 percent of his three-point attempts, he only took 1.7 three-pointers a game on average. With teams currently placing a premium on three-point shooting, would a team in the modern-day NBA make him take more attempts from outside, or play to his strengths and get him his looks in the mid-range or on drives?
That is obviously something we’re unsure of, but back then, Jefferson was always considered one of the better small forwards in the league, as he’d also throw down some mean dunks and make other types of highlight-reel plays while maintaining high scoring averages. Jefferson held his own on the defensive side of the ball as well.
In an offense that was led by Jason Kidd, driving lanes for easy looks at the rim and shooting opportunities opened up for the young forward at the time, and he made sure to capitalize on all those opportunities as much as he could. Jefferson also proved to be a huge part of New Jersey’s back-to-back Finals trips in 2002 and 2003 when he first came into the league, as he put up 15 points off the bench in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics in 2002 to help the Nets go to their first-ever NBA Finals.
Although the forward position had many strong candidates for an All-Star Game spot in the mid-to-late 2000s, it’s a shame that Jefferson didn’t get his due despite being on one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Make no mistake though, if the rosters were expanded, I have no doubt he would’ve found himself in at least one of those games.