caseyholdahl

Nov 18

Jared Jeffries Leads The Charge

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, Bulls, jaredjeffries, Suns

Through ten games, Trail Blazers reserve forward Jared Jeffries has played a grand total of 55 minutes. With so little playing time, it's no surprise he's averaging just 0.6 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game, stats that lead one to believe Jeffries isn't making much of a contribution. And that wouldn't be a complete misinterpretation, inasmuch as the entire Trail Blazers bench has been infrequently used, for fair reasons, through the first three weeks of the season.

But Jeffries most impressive statistic doesn't show up on the average NBA box score, though he is somewhat renowned for it nonetheless. Jeffries, by virtue of experience and intelligence, is one of the best players in the league at drawing offensive fouls. He took two charges in 22 minutes during Sunday night's victory over the Bulls, which is impressive.

Or at least it would be for most players in the NBA. But by taking a charge, on average, every 11 minutes Sunday night, Jeffries' charges taken per minute actually declined. Nevertheless, he's still taking a charge (by my unofficial tally), on average, ever 7.8 minutes played. You wouldn't think he could keep up that kind of pace, especially if his minutes continue to increase as they have over the last three games, but that's not to say his ability to take an offensive foul is happenstance. Quite the opposite.

"I used to be able to block shots," said Jeffries. "I can't block shots no more, so you've got to step in there (to take a charge). It's just another way for us to shut down our paint. I think one of our biggest problems right now is we give a lot of penetration up and guys get a lot of easy layups. So if we can limit that a little bit more, get back in transition, I think that makes us more of a defensive team."

For all the talk about Portland's lack of bench scoring, the more serious problem has been, as Jeffries aptly notes, porous defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 49 percent from the field, the second-worst mark in the NBA. And the Trail Blazers are even worse when it comes to points in the paint, giving up an NBA-worst 48 points per game.

Can the threat of drawing an offensive foul fix Portland's interior defense? Not likely. But while the Trail Blazers bench isn't really built to score points, they can do the little things, like taking charges and grabbing offensive rebounds, to make up for their offensive shortcomings.

"Those two guys, they've stayed in the league for a long time doing what they do," said head coach Terry Stotts of Jeffries and Ronnie Price, who scored a season-high ten points off the bench versus the Bulls. "Jared Jeffries is a solid basketball player. He does all the little things that go unnoticed. Well, I think basketball players notice it, but they're not in the box score."

Stotts is right; you have to comb through the play-by-play to find Jeffries' true value. But while Stotts knows plenty about the veteran savvy on this bench, he's also learning, according to Jeffries, that the bench unit might have a little more to contribute than they've shown thus far.

"You know, it's a matter of coach getting comfortable with us, knowing how to play us," said Jeffries. "We know that our starters are definitely our go-to guys on this team, but I think or bench can contribute in different ways. I think that everyone knows their role and once everybody really understands their role, they'll play at a higher level."

Even when that "higher level" consists of remaining firmly planted to the court in order to take a charge.

8 Comments

  1. We are getting better with all our players. Lillard, Batum, and Lamarcus got more rest tonight because of price and Jefferies. Leonard got in foul trouble of course, which didn't help.

    Casey, while I have your attention of sort. what is the radio station at Florance that covers the Blazers. I will be at 3 rivers Wednesday night and I don't believe they have comcast.
    That was one heck of a game we played.

    by Hg on 11/18/2012 10:33 PM
  2. Jared Jeffries had a solid game tonight. He definitely brings the defensive presence. It's nice to see someone in the middle consistently take charges. Something I think we've been missing since Przybilla left. I also thought Ronnie Price had his strongest game as a Blazer tonight. It was nice to see.

    Jared Jeffries' karaoke talents tonight did not go unnoticed either.

    by krizzikinz on 11/18/2012 10:44 PM
  3. Kristin, I was just gonna say that. Jumbotron karaoke made my night.

    by sarahhecht on 11/18/2012 10:57 PM
  4. I've ALWAYS been a fan of taking charges (I use them more than your average pick up game guy ;) Why? Bc a blocked shot (I STILL block a lot even 2day btw! Hahah!) MAY b menacing BUT it's possible for the opponents to get the ball bak :( W/ a charge, you've STOPPED their possession, killed their momentum, & now u DEFINITELY have the ball (not to mention, the best part: you've pissed them off! :) Guys that take/know how to take charges r awesome (aka Jared, YOU r awesome! :) ; the guys that flop (I've NEVER done this & NEVER WILL! ;) to get these (aka Varejao) r garbage though!

    by Simpson on 11/19/2012 3:22 PM
  5. Not exactly sure HG, but you might try the coast stations on this list:

    http://www.nba.com/blazers/fans/list_of_stations.html

    And of course, you can always stream live game audio for free:

    http://www.nba.com/broadband/alp_schedule.html

    by caseyholdahl on 11/19/2012 3:28 PM
  6. Not if you don't have a modern day laptop I Phone or computer. Oh to be old and broke LOL.

    by Hg on 11/19/2012 4:01 PM
  7. The problem with depending on drawing a charge is it leaves a lot to the discretion of the refs who more times than not will favor the chargER on a close one.

    by teradasan on 11/20/2012 10:52 PM
  8. I just like knowing that despite the lack of experience and tallent on the bench, we can count on a few things good things, namely Jefferies taking a charge.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 11/23/2012 6:53 PM
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