Easily the most consistently powerful emotion I feel when I watch Mad Men is guilt. Obviously I feel a healthy degree of vicarious guilt for all of the horrible things the characters do to each other, but mostly I’m speaking about the guilt I feel independent of my vicarious experience. For every single character on the show whom I have vehemently despised, I have subsequently sympathized with. This means guilt. Guilt for all of the vitriolic things I mentally declared to be true about a character that I will only regret. Because about 80% of Mad Men scenes involve one or more characters doing something reprehensibly cruel to one or more other characters, I have hated and regretted hating every single character on the show (this necessarily must exclude Danny Siegel, because, come on, what’s there to hate?). I say this because, in at least this way, Al Jefferson is a Mad Men character.
This is unfair to Al Jefferson, because of course, he’s a real person and (thankfully) no one on Mad Men is. Still, everything I hear Al Jefferson say, every time I read a tweet about him, everything I know about his upbringing, makes me wholeheartedly love the man. Then, 15 minutes into a game against the Hornets and three wasted possessions later, I am yelling unspeakable things about him. Then the game is over, I watch his postgame interview, and the heavy burden of the guilt sets in. It’s horrible. It really is. Still, if someone were to tell me, “Evan, you remind me of a Mad Men character,” I might initially fall into a bout of self-loathing, but then, inexplicably, I would feel complimented. So, Al Jefferson, you remind me of all the Mad Men characters.
Offseason Accomplishments: Well, there’s the thoroughly exhausted issue of the bed. There are plenty of other things, but seriously, look at that bed.
Patronus: Ox. You know, oxen are strangely majestic animals.
Stat to watch: Minutes played. That’s right. I went there. Frankly, Al Jefferson’s stats are probably the most predictable of any Jazz player. If Big Al averages anything besides 19 points, 10 boards and roughly 50% from the field, I’ll be shocked. What would also shock me, but in a more hopeful way, is if Al were to move to the bench and mow down opposing back-up centers like Hayward mows down Germans on Call of Duty (Was that a seamless reference? Are there Germans on Call of Duty? Truthfully speaking, I know nothing about Call of Duty, except that it’s a shooter and that Gordon Hayward plays it). Then his minutes would go down, the first unit would run everyone out of the gym, and Jefferson would keep the Jazz’s offensive output from slipping when the starters hit the bench.
Three Outcomes for the Season
1. Al moves to the bench, the Jazz start Favors at center and play small-ball for 38 minutes a game. Al averages 15 and 8 in limited minutes and gets a nice contract from Houston in the offseason.
2. Last season but with three point shooting. Al still averages 16 shots a game, but because of the shooting, he has more space, and the Jazz make a deeper playoff season run (hardly difficult, considering it would only take one playoff win to constitute “deeper” than last season).
3. Al gets traded. This is growing increasingly likely as Favors gets better. Either Millsap or Al needs to go, and since Millsap fits slightly better into the system of the future, I think Jefferson is the more likely trade chip. If this were to happen mid-season, I still genuinely believe the Jazz would make the playoffs. As difficult as it would be for the Jazz to lose their second best player, they are far too deep this season to be kept out of the playoffs because of the loss of one player.