Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a name Nets fans seem to be tired of hearing this season after seeing him regress hard due to injures, lack of confidence or a combination of other different reasons..
A few seasons ago the Brooklyn Nets traded for the man and veteran point guard Steve Blake for Mason Plumlee and the 41st pick (Pat Cannaughton) to jump start their rebuilding process. Coming out of Arizona, he was scouted for his athleticism, defense and overall potential to be a two-way player if developed correctly. He do could everything on the court for the Wildcats, he scored the ball, rebounded and hustled, blocked shots left and right. As a young player that displayed that much potential, fans can see the reasoning for the trade and liked it (even though Mason Plumlee was a fan favorite for Nets fans).
All things considered, he was still raw offensively, mostly relying on his freakish athleticism and boundless energy to drive, cut and slam the ball into the basket. His defense was (and still is) above-average during his rookie and sophomore campaign with the Nets franchise. He has no jump shot to speak of, though in his 3rd season with the Nets, he did show flashes of a mid range game that left fans optimistic that his weird looking shot just might translate to a 3-point stroke if given the time, patience and chance. Other than that, his defense is what keeps him in the game but in an era where 3 pointers are kings, he HAS to develop his shot to really be a game changer that scouts saw him coming out of college.
This season though has been difficult to say the least for RHJ. Hit hard with injuries and (maybe) confidence issues, he has regressed his overall game to the point where some Nets fans don’t want to see him on the court, especially with the emergence of rookie sensation- and best player from Latvia ahem – Rodions Kurucs at the 3 and 4 spot. Hurtful words but with the way he puts his head down when drives to the rim, or how he tries to make some layup with a weird acrobatic move that more or less fails to go in, it is justified. To make things simple, this season has not gone as expected for the soon-to-be Restricted Free Agent.
All things considered, what he does on the court is not what we want to see obviously, but off the court and in the locker room is where his value is at its highest. His charity work for the Brooklyn borough is more than exceptional, it’s outstanding. He constantly (along with other Nets players) gives more than enough for kids and adults in need, he usually flashes his signature smile for reporters during interviews, he gives energy to the bench when someone makes one heck of a play with Theo Pinson and the Nets bench mob. All these traits and more makes him the perfect locker room guy, supportive and caring, has an aura that is positive and just gives off a cool and smooth vibe. He’s the type of guy ANY team should have in their roster. It also helps that his mother raised him right (pretty obvious just by looking at how he presents himself to the public) and is a loving father to his young child, whom he showers with affection constantly like his mother.
At the end of the day, his defense and overall attitude keeps him valuable to an organization like the Brooklyn Nets, who are building a culture that relies on brotherhood and support but if that’s the case, what is he worth? 8 million? 10 million? League minimum? Who knows, all I know is that the case for keeping him on the team and letting him go has both positives and negatives, but like that P.Diddy song, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Oh, by the way, he hit a game-winner against the Kings. Nothing special actually, it was just the biggest 4th quarter comeback of the franchise’s history and RHJ made the go ahead layup to seal the win. Also, D-Lo commented after the game, saying “He’s the heart and soul of this team”. This quote right here signifies what he brings to this team.
Hate his game but don’t hate his character and work ethic Brooklynites.
Featured Image: Alex Labidou via NBA.com