The Western Conference’s Next All-Star

By: 09.03.10

Al Jefferson (photo. Bethany Gilbert)

NBA All-Star Weekend is a time when the League clarifies the status of it’s players. With the Rookie/Sophomore Challenge, we identify the future stars. In the Three-Point Shootout we declare the best shooter in the game (at least for one night). And the main event of the weekend is suppose to gives us a clear picture of who the Top 24 players are in the world. However, every year there are deserving players who are unfairly left off the rosters due to the numbers game. Looking back at history, Mike Bibby in Sacramento was a player who comes to mind when thinking of these scenarios, while Byron Scott was another. With all that said, after being traded out of a bad situation in Minnesota, this will finally be the year that Al Jefferson takes his name off of this list.

Now that Jefferson is playing for a contender, people should respect his numbers a lot more. Before last season, he averaged greater than 21 points and 11 rebounds for two consecutive years, and double-double numbers like that are hard to overlook. However, All-Star voters have unfairly disregarded these stats due to his team’s horrible record. Thankfully, they won’t be able to use that excuse this year.

Big Al finally has a real point guard to feed him the ball in the post. And as we’ve seen through history, a good big man is nothing without a good guard to get him the rock. And Deron Williams is a major upgrade in that department. Also, Utah’s overall ball moment should assist the Jefferson in a big way, meaning the possibilities are endless.

If there’s one thing to be excited about, it’s the fact that Jerry Sloan and the Jazz know how to utilize their power forwards. From Hall of Famer Karl Malone to Carlos Boozer to even Paul Millsap off the bench, the Jazz always get great production from the four spot. With his wide frame, physical play and good foot work, he should fit in quite nicely with Williams in the pick-and-roll game. Without a doubt, Sloan’s system will take Big Al’s game to the next level. And next February, the premiere of a new big star will be the talk of the red carpet in Los Angeles.

What do you think?

Follow Casey on Twitter at @MrMack3142.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

Around The Web