Clippers NBA Offseason Targets: F Richard Jefferson


Grow familiar with the word cheap — it’s the theme of Los Angeles’ off-season outside of paying DeAndre Jordan.

That being said, ‘cheap’ leads to the next possible offseason target, one that could improve wing depth, mainly from three, and the team’s lack of athleticism: Dallas free agent and league veteran Richard Jefferson.

Who Is He?

Name: Richard Jefferson

Position: Small Forward

Experience: 14 years

Height: 6’7

Free Agent Type: Unrestricted

2014-15 Stats: 74 games played, 5.0 points, 44 FG%, 42 3P%, 2.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 11.3 PER

Free Agency Situation

When it comes to free agency (especially when he has ample cap space), few are more aggressive than Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. While Cuban goes hard for the big names, he’ll look to retain a few in-house players, with one of those being Al-Fariq Aminu, who signed for the vet minimum last off-season and proved to be worth much more in the postseason. If Aminu returns, he, starting small forward Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki will have dibs on nearly 90 percent of minutes at the forward spots.

Given Jefferson is cheap 3-and-D/small-ball four, the other 10 percent of the minutes could be his. Or the Mavericks could look for a younger option in either the draft or on the open market.

Highlight of Choice

What The Internet is Saying

But while he wasn’t exactly an elite two-way player, Jefferson had one of the best three-point shooting seasons of his career and was generally pretty useful on offense. He shot 42.6 percent from deep this season, finished at the rim at around the league average and generally kept his turnovers in check. Not bad for a 34 year old making the veteran’s minimum. – Mavs Money Ball (SB Nation)

He also displayed the ability to get to the rim with general ease and he could finish at a league-average rate. Chandler Parsons was the small forward most dangerous off the bounce on this team, but Jefferson, even considering his age, can still move well on the ball. He relies on craftiness more now than he maybe used to, but he could make things happen from the weak side, and that’s what made him such a valuable spot starter this

On the Floor

Who knew Richard Jefferson would reinvent his career to become a reliable 9th or 10th man after his stint with the Golden State Warriors? He did it in Utah in 2013-14, in Dallas in 2014-15, and if given the opportunity, could do the same as a member of the Clippers in 2015-16.

At this stage in Jefferson’s career, his best weapon is the three-ball. Despite averaging only 1.8 three-point attempts per game last season, Jefferson shot 43% on catch-and-shoot opportunities, per SportsVU. Not that the Clippers long for perimeter shooting,the addition wouldn’t hurt as it creates space for the likes of Griffin-Paul-Redick-etc. to operate on the floor.

"(Jefferson’s shooting splits for ’14-15)"

Where Jefferson is the opposite of Turkoglu is his ability to create going toward the basket, where as most of Hedo’s damage (if any) came from beyond the arc.

No one outside of the Clippers’ top-6 players plus Austin Rivers could makes moves like this in the half court.

Also unlike Turkoglu, the Clippers would be able to rely on Jefferson in transition — per Synergy, Jefferson averaged 1.3 points per possession in transition and shot 68% from the field (34-for-50) in the situation.

Defensively? It doesn’t take much more than an actual live body to improve what Turkoglu provided the Clippers defensively as Turk struggled defending side-to-side as many players in his age range do. And while Jefferson is no defensive mastermind at this point in his career, in man-to-man situations, players shot 3.4% lower than their season average when defended by Jefferson; against Turkoglu, players shot their normal average.

And then there’s the general accommodating to Rivers’ want for a stretch-four: Doc could use Jefferson at power forward for stretches as Rick Carlisle did.

Chances of Signing

Depends on two things: 1) how much Jefferson wants to stick with a “contender” and 2) how he’d feel about the possibility of being third on the depth chart if the Clippers can sign Paul Pierce. If Pierce isn’t in the picture, Jefferson could slide into the backup 3 role seamlessly.

That is, unless Doc Rivers has high hopes in the non-guaranteed Jordan Hamilton going into the ’15-16 season.

Next: Clippers' focus on the NBA Draft shows their evolving mindset