Amongst all this Linsanity, I’m going to go out there and do something relatively unheard of amongst Knicks fans; I’m writing a positive post about Knicks forward Jared Jeffries.
Madison Square Garden tends to rain boos whenever the hated forward hits the floor, but this really is unfair. Yes, I’m being hypocritical here – I’ve made tons of Jared Jeffries-related jokes on this blog – but watching these last two games have provided me with some sort of Jared Jeffries revelation.
I’m not going to tell you he’s a great offensive player (although he did make a reverse lay-up against the Jazz) but let’s at least take a moment to look at his positves on the defensive end.
Jeffries is regularly one of the more hard-working Knicks players and this is reflected in his success on defence. Not exactly a premier athlete, Jeffries manages to defend all 5 positions reasonably well, in fact even greatly when it comes to his native power forward position. We always hear about guys who do things that “don’t show up in the box score”, but Jared Jeffries genuinely does this; how about those five-or-so drawn charges on Monday?
In an article on The Basketball Jones (which albeit was intended as a joke), Chris Gethard made a really good point about why we shouldn’t be so quick to hate Jared Jeffries – he’s what Knicks fans should love about basketball. He’s the hard-worker, the defender, even the underdog when he’s on the court, all of which are the same reasons Knicks fans cheered for players from Dave DeBuscherre through to John Starks and Charles Oakley and now even Jeremy Lin.
Obviously I’m not trying to say that he’s done as much in a Knick uniform – or will do as much in a Knick uniform – as the aformentioned legends [exclusive of Lin], but at the very least we shouldn’t boo him quite so often.
The other thing about Jeffries is that he loves the Knicks – the fans, the team, the Garden – more than most of the diva players you’ll find in the NBA these days. Don’t believe me? Well he was pretty quick to return to New York, for a minimum contract nonetheless, despite his treatment from Knicks fans, as soon as he was released by the Rockets.
Embattled coach Mike D’Antoni – admittedly not the best person to call for the opinion of right now – agrees with me too.
I’m not asking you to wear his jersey or to fall in love with his game, but come on, give the guy a break.