The Hollis-Jefferson Effect: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s Potential Impact Going Forward
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The Brooklyn Nets lost their season opener to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, but there were still some positives for the home team. The biggest one was the debut for Nets rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. In just 24 minutes of playing time, Jefferson scored eight points, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
His offense (or lack there-of) is what caused him to slide in the draft, but he looked good against the Bulls. He seemed to be able to attack the basket whenever he wanted to, and he even hit a mid-range jump shot. His offense is still a work in progress, but he definitely showed flashes of a good offensive player.
Hollis-Jefferson’s defense was the reason why a lot of scouts thought he had star potential in the league, and his defensive skills were on full display against Chicago. He has long arms and active feet, and opposing players should be wary not to be loose with the basketball near him. Chicago turned the ball over 20 times Wednesday night, 14 of them occurred when Hollis-Jefferson was on the floor.
What does this game mean going forward for the Nets and for Hollis-Jefferson in particular? For me, opening night meant that the rookie is even better at this stage then what Nets’ fans imagined. It means that it is fair to say that this kid does indeed have star potential in this league.
Not too many guys can come into the league and play elite level defense the way this kid can. I know it was one game, but the signs are there. He should be able to play high level defense every night because of his size, length, athleticism, and defensive IQ.
He’s big enough to be able to cover shooting guards and small forwards, and fast and crafty enough to cover point guards. He can be physical, wearing down his man as the game goes on. His length and quick hands will allow him to strip the basketball, steal passes, and block a lot of shots.
Make no mistake about it; we’re talking about a guy who will be a “Defensive Player of the Year” winner at least once before his career is over. He’s that good defensively. His demeanor and defensive abilities scream Kawhi Leonard.
Like I said, it was only one game, but Coach Lionel Hollins loves playing guys that know how to defend. Hollis-Jefferson is certainly that. I think with a ton of minutes under his belt, Jefferson will be on his way to stardom by season’s end. Offensive players beware!