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Al Jefferson (born January 4, 1985 in Monticello, Mississippimarker) is an Americanmarker professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA.

High school career

Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in Prentiss, Mississippimarker from 2000–2004. In his senior year for the Bulldogs he averaged 42.6 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 blocks per game. He had earned a scholarship to attend the University of Arkansasmarker to play with the Arkansas Razorbacks but opted out to enter the 2004 NBA Draft.

Pro career

Al Jefferson was drafted with the 15th pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA Draft, becoming the first high school player to be drafted by the Celtics (Kendrick Perkins was drafted by the Grizzlies, then traded to Boston on draft day in the 2003 NBA Draft). He played primarily as a power forward and averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game during his rookie season.Jefferson's 2005–2006 season was widely considered a disappointment, mostly due to a series of ankle injuries and a torn meniscus in his right knee which limited him to playing in 59 games.He averaged 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game during his sophomore season.

In the off-season prior to the 2006–2007 season, Jefferson hired a personal chef and lost about 30 pounds.After experiencing lingering pain after participating in the Las Vegas Summer League, a CAT scan revealed bone spurs.On August 2, 2006, he underwent ankle surgery to remove these bone spurs.On November 8, 2006 prior to the fourth game of the season, Al Jefferson had appendectomy surgeryat New England Baptist Hospital. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Camer and Dr. Farhat Homsy and assisted by Celtics Team Physician Dr. Brian McKeon.He missed seven games and returned to the lineup on November 23, 2006.

2006–07

While already playing increased minutes (9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game over nine games as a reserve), his role expanded due to an injury to starting center Kendrick Perkins. With backup centers Michael Olowokandi and Theo Ratliff already on the injured list, Celtics' coach Doc Rivers started Al Jefferson at center on December 6, 2006 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Over the next seven games, Jefferson averaged 16.3 points and 11.1 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game. In what some considered a breakout performance against the New Jersey Nets on December 9, 2006, he scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds which tied a career-high (set on May 5, 2005 in a playoff game against the Indiana Pacers). It was the second time he had scored more than 20 points in a game. The previous occasion was on December 10, 2005 against the Dallas Mavericks where he scored 21 points. His third and fourth 20-point game came six and seven days after the second, on December 15 and December 16, 2006, when he scored 28 against the Denver Nuggets and 22 against the Charlotte Bobcats. These efforts punctuated a five-game win streak by the Boston Celtics.

On March 3, 2007, Jefferson scored a career-high 32 points to go along with 18 rebounds against the New Jersey Nets, against whom he had previously set his career high in points against earlier in the season. On March 5, Jefferson was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week starting February 26 through March 4.

2007–08

On July 31, 2007 it was made official that Jefferson was to be traded along with Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, and draft picks, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.

After landing in Minnesota, Jefferson quickly signed a large contract extension before the season. At $65 million over five years, it was satisfactory but he could have gotten a max deal. Instead he chose not to pursue one, due to "having not really proved myself".

In his first season with the Timberwolves, Jefferson immediately became the team's scoring leader. Playing in all 82 games, he ranked 20th in the NBA in points per game (11th in total points), averaging 21.0 points per game while shooting .500 from the field. Jefferson also defined himself as one of the premier big men in the NBA by being only one of four players to average 20 points and 10 rebounds (the others being Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, and Antawn Jamison). Jefferson ranked 5th in the NBA in rebounding, averaging 11.1 (4th in total rebounds) and 2nd in offensive rebounds per game (3.8), only behind Tyson Chandler (4.1). Jefferson is ranked 12th in the NBA efficiency and is 3rd in the NBA in double-doubles.

In January 2008 Jefferson won Western Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 33.3 points and 15.3 rebounds and leading the Timberwolves to a 3–1 record from January 21 to 27.

Jefferson posted his career-high of 40 points against the New Jersey Nets on January 27, 2008 and repeated such a performance against the Charlotte Bobcats on April 8, 2008.

2008–09

Jefferson was having a career best year, averaging 23.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in the first 50 games of the season, until suffering a serious right knee injury after landing awkwardly on one leg in a game at New Orleans. Jefferson claimed that he felt a pop in his knee and the injury resulted in a complete tear to the ACL which required reconstructive surgery that ended his season. At the time the Wolves were 17–33 and showing signs of improvement, but with Jefferson out, they went 7-25 over their remaining games, and were a lottery team once again.

Personal

Jefferson is affectionately known by fans as "Big Al" and he has gone to the point where he signs all of his autographs with just his nickname and his number (25), rather than his full name.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

2004–05
Boston
71 1 14.8 .528 .000 .630 4.4 .3 .3 .8 6.7
2005–06
Boston
59 7 18.0 .499 .000 .642 5.1 .5 .5 .8 7.9
2006–07
Boston
69 60 33.6 .514 .000 .681 11.0 1.3 .7 1.5 16.0
2007–08
Minnesota
82 82 35.6 .500 .000 .721 11.1 1.4 .9 1.5 21.0
2008–09
Minnesota
50 50 36.7 .497 .000 .738 11.0 1.6 .8 1.7 23.1
Career
331 200 27.8 .505 .000 .696 8.5 1.0 .6 1.2 14.9

Playoffs

2004–05
Boston
7 0 19.4 .415 .000 .750 6.4 .3 .6 1.1 6.1
Career
7 0 19.4 .415 .000 .750 6.4 .3 .6 1.1 6.1

References

  1. Departures of Jefferson, Hargrow to go unfilled
  2. Pierce buzzer-beater completes C's rally past Nets
  3. Pierce overcomes shooting woes to lead Celtics over Nets
  4. A. Jefferson, K. Martin Named NBA Players of the Week
  5. Garnett deal finalized
  6. Rebuilding Wolves give multiyear extension to Jefferson
  7. Wolves, Jefferson agree to extension
  8. Jefferson's $65M extension isn't max deal, but he's satisfied
  9. Jefferson West's Player of the Week
  10. Wolves' Jefferson scores career-high 40 as Nets continue slump
  11. Bobcats blow 18-point lead but hold off Timberwolves


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