OK, so they've blown with him too. But not as much.
I'm a Nets fan, but unfortunately, while a team is suffering so bad -- really, they're sucking it up -- you really can't blog about them on a site about all sports. They're not relevant. But then I thought about it and realized I really can do whatever I want with this damn blog...as long as Tom lets me.
Back to the point at hand, Richard Jefferson is a better player than people think. While Jason Kidd and Vince Carter have gone to numerous All Star games, RJ has not. Although Kidd is still putting up good numbers, he's aging and has become one of those players you can't afford to have in for the majority of the game. Carter comes with a lot of drama. Plus, since the guy shoots so damn much, if he's having an off game, so is the team.
Enter Richard Jefferson, the selfless player who really can do it all. He's one of the team's best defenders. He can shoot the long ball and slash to the basket. He's a spark plug off the bench without being an asshole in the process. Plus, have you ever heard him speak? His voice sounds like he just raided the helium balloons at a kid's birthday party.
From the very end of December to the middle of January, the Nets won 9 of 11 games. It's no coincidence that RJ was playing his best basketball then. And that was with a hobbled ankle -- an ankle that he opted to get repaired and miss at least four to six weeks because of.
And what happened right after RJ left? The Nets lost their next 3 games by a combined 3 points -- all of them by last second shots. Would that have happened with RJ? When you have a player who plays good defense and does enough offensively not only to be a threat, but to take double teams from Carter, you're going to play better. So yes, they probably would have won those games.
Chances are, when RJ comes back, it'll be too late. Sure, the Atlantic division is so shitty that they can go on a run and take first place in the division. But missing a guy like Jefferson hurts. The Nets lost center Nenad Krstic early this year to an ACL injury, but the emergence of Mikki Moore has filled that void. There's no player that can fill in for Jefferson. He's just that good.