I'm extremely excited to share with you that we have signed free agent center Al Jefferson
. Al was a player that we targeted from the very beginning of free agency and we are thrilled that he will continue his career here in Charlotte with the rest of our young, talented core.
What can Bobcats fans expect from Al Jefferson? Al isn't flashy, but he has been one of the most consistent players in our league for the past several seasons. In fact, he is one of only two players (along with Dwight Howard
) in the NBA to have averaged at least 17.0 points and at least 9.0 rebounds in each of the last six campaigns. Last year with Utah, Al finished 20th in scoring (17.8 ppg) and 14th in rebounding (9.2 rpg), while leading all NBA centers in field goals, ranking second in scoring average and finishing fourth in defensive rebounds. Along with his consistency, Al has been extremely durable, having missed a total of just nine regular-season games in the last three years.
Al's most impressive skill - his low-post scoring - is something that we have lacked as an organization. He is one of the top low-post scoring threats in the NBA and gives us a back-to-the-basket presence that we have not had. Players with that skill set are at a premium in this league, and it's a talent that is not readily available or easy to find. Last season, our team ranked 24th in the NBA in points in the paint, while Al was one of only 13 players in the NBA to average more than 10.0 points in the paint per game. With opponents having to double-team him in the post, this will create additional (and easier) scoring opportunities for the other players on the floor. As his game has grown, Al has continued to become a better passer out of the post, and we expect that to continue.
Along with his on-court abilities, Al is known as one of the NBA's true good guys. He mentored and worked closely with the up-and-coming frontcourt players in Utah and has been credited with helping their development as professionals. We believe he will bring this attitude and presence to our locker room and that his veteran leadership will play a large role in the development in our younger players.
Al's decision to come to Charlotte speaks to the potential of the group that we have assembled here. In our conversations with him, he shared with us his excitement about the opportunity to join this young team and help us reach our goal of becoming a franchise that can compete at the highest levels of the NBA. Al wants to be here and that's a great sign for our organization.
The opportunity to get a player with Al's unique skill set and personality was one that we felt we needed to take advantage of as we continue to look for ways to improve our team. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn't publicly thank our ownership for their consistent commitment in building our team. We wouldn't be able to acquire a player of Al's caliber if we did not have their full support.
Al is a young veteran with nine years of NBA experience, but at only 28 years old, he still has a lot of basketball ahead of him. Please welcome him to Charlotte; we think you're really going to like him.
As always, thank you for your continued support of the Charlotte Bobcats
President of basketball operations