To summarize quickly: Charlotte’s headed for the postseason for the second time in franchise history, and they didn’t have to forsake the future in order to get their like they did in 2010. Steve Clifford is the right man for the job as head coach, credentialed by his transformation of the Bobcats into a top-10 defense. Josh McRoberts is a one-man passing wunderkind on the perimeter, complementing Kemba Walker’s playmaking nicely on a team that’s otherwise short on players who can create offense for their teammates.
And, of course, there’s Big Al Jefferson. The addition of Jefferson qualifies as a splurge for Charlotte, the type of financial investment this team has hesitated to make, prioritizing flexibility and the future over short-term success. The contract represented a certain level of risk — a high salary in exchange for a shorter, three-year deal, the last year of which is a player option — but little uncertainty. You know what you’re getting when you bring Al Jefferson onto your team, a sentiment captured among a thousand other heartwarming tidbits in a recent profile on Al by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins. Off and on the court, Jefferson has delivered in Charlotte.
He didn’t make the All-Star team, largely a result of a slow start caused by injury and the resulting fatigue. In the second half of the season, though, few have meant more to their teams, and no one has so completely dominated on the block. That’s Big Al Country, and trespassers are up-and-under’d on sight.
Jefferson’s been so good that the Bobcats think he’s got quite the case to make an All-NBA team — and they’re promoting his cause with an awesome, creative, incredibly in-depth and detailed website called “Big Al’s Paint.” Big Al’s Paint includes videos of painting tips and comparisons of Big Al against the top brands (of other big men) in the league and lists of awards that this old-timey shop has won and it goes on and on and honestly I’m still discovering new things that I love and is that Cody Zeller sweeping in the background of one of the videos and I’m sorry that I’m babbling but this is fantastic LOOK:
Does Jefferson have a case for All-NBA? It’s an uphill battle, as the position is deep with elite guys who bring distinct skill sets to the table. Has Jefferson been better than Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert and Joakim Noah, for example? That’s a tough argument to make.
But that’s almost beside the point. Jefferson’s had an amazing season for a team that’s going to the postseason and building momentum toward a retroactive rebranding that promises to keep the ball rolling. If the soon-to-be-Hornets need a little paint for their makeover, they know where to go. 24/7, 365, you can count on Big Al’s Paint to be open on your block.