Former Dallas Mavericks forward Richard Jefferson signed a minimum contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Jefferson had originally agreed to a contract with the Mavs earlier in July, but after being offered a chance to chase a championship with the Cavs, he rescinded the Mavs offer and joined the Cavs. The Cavs bring in a seasoned veteran who has experience in both leading a team in the locker room and in the playoffs. Here are 11 things you have not have known about Richard Jefferson, starting with number 11:
12. 3-PT Shooting
While Jefferson’s playing-time and scoring have decreased, his shooting percentages have stayed consistent throughout his career. He is a career 38% shooter from 3-PT, and a career 46% mark shooting from the field. What’s more interesting is that Jefferson has shot at least 41% from 3-PT in 6 of his last 7 seasons, which means that while he is aging, his 3PT shooting has actually improved a bit from when he was drafted. He will fit right in with the Cavs, whom thrive on drive and kicks from LeBron and Kyrie to find the open man in the corner from deep. The Cavs shot the 2nd most 3’s last season in the league, with only Houston shooting more. Overall, the Cavs made 36.7% of these 3’s, but this number could improve with the addition of Jefferson and the possible re-signing of JR.
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11. West Coaster
Jefferson was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He went to high school in Phoenix and attended the University of Arizona where he played 84 games, started in 77 of them, and averaged 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.
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10. Playoff Experience
Jefferson brings to the Cavs his 105 career playoff games of experience. After being drafted in the first round in 2001, Jefferson played a key part as the New Jersey Nets won back to back Eastern Conference Championships in 2002-2003. He has also been on playoff teams in 4 of his last 6 seasons, despite being on multiple teams. Although he has been merely a role player in the previous few seasons, he would excel in the playoffs because he has been there and knows what to expect, which is the opposite of the players on the Cavs, many of which just played in the first playoffs of their respective careers.
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9. Humor of RJ
Richard Jefferson is supposedly a very humorous teammate and always brings the laughs. During his time with the Mavs and Spurs, his teammates and mentioned that coaches talked about the comedic approach he brought every day.
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8. Help on the Wing
Jefferson is listed as a small forward, but he can also play shooting guard. He gives the Cavs the type of tall defender (6’7”) that Blatt hoped Shawn Marion would be last season, although it didn’t work out. Jefferson will come off the bench and possibly provide some time to rest for LeBron, Shumpert, and others. While he is no longer starting caliber, Jefferson is still good enough to provide meaningful minutes off the bench every game.
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7. Veteran Leadership
Jefferson is a 14 year NBA veteran, and he has been on six teams throughout his career. He brings to the Cavs the knowledge and experience of being on contending teams, and understands what it takes to win. He will also be another veteran presence in the locker room, along with Mike Miller, James Jones, and LeBron. Veterans are usually brought on a team to help guide younger players from the bench, but Jefferson looks to do so while on the court together.
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6. FBI Investigation
Earlier this year, Jefferson suspected that his manager had stolen $2 million from him without permission. Jefferson reported the crime and then helped record a phone call he had with Ted Kritza in which the manager confessed to taking the money. The bank then sued Kritza for the $2 million and Jefferson went down as a sort of undercover in the investigation.
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A large part of this signing had to do with insurance. With JR and the Cavs still unable to come to terms on a new contract, Jefferson was signed as insurance in case JR doesn’t return. Especially since Jefferson was signed for a one year veteran’s minimum deal, he is the cheapest insurance that the Cavs could get in terms of someone who can come in and help out. In comparison, while Jefferson can’t create his own shots off the dribble quite like JR can, he comes at a much much cheaper price tag.
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4. Sorry Mavs, Going To The Cavs
Richard Jefferson was set to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks after DeAndre Jordan announced he would move to Dallas. Once Jordan spurned the Mavs for what he called home to stay with the Clippers, Jefferson found the next best contending scenario with the Cavs. He will likely get some playing time as well now that Mike Miller is out of the picture in Cleveland.
“I came into this league only wanting to play in the playoffs,” he said. “And if you’re not playing in the playoffs, you’re kind of wasting your time.”
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3. How Do I Say, “We’re Done?”
Jefferson, who had been with girlfriend Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols for five years from 2004 to 2009, broke up with her after a tense fourth of July weekend just a week before they were scheduled to get married. How did he do it, though? Jefferson sent his girlfriend the break-up notice through e-mail! He wrote down his thoughts on the email just for himself, but ended up sending it as the couple were on opposite sides of the country at the time. The two later spoke on the phone
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2. Admiring The Admiral
Growing up, Richard Jefferson’s favorite player was David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.
“David Robinson was my favorite player growing up. When I first really started watching basketball it was him and Sean Elliott. I really didn’t know the relation, you know Sean went to Arizona and all that, I found that out a little later after I had been watching the Spurs so many years. But David Robinson was my guy, he was who I loved to watch.
“I can remember my second year in the league, when we were down by 10 and they were about to win the championship. On the free throw line, I looked over to him and sort of said, ‘now that this is all over, I can tell you, you were my favorite player growing up.'”
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1. Love For Mexican Food
Jefferson’s favorite food is Mexican food.
“I have a problem, I really have a problem when it comes to Mexican food,” says Jefferson. I grew up in Phoenix and Southern California so Mexican is my favorite food. Gosh there are so many [great dishes].
“It could be carne asada burritos. It could be steak enchiladas. Fried beans.
“Like it could be… gosh there are so many. I love pretty much every type of Mexican food.
“I love rolled tacos. I love guacamole.
“I have a problem, I really have a problem when it comes to Mexican food.”