Basketball

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: A Great Pickup

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A seemingly underrated recent pickup was the Portland Trail Blazers signing free-agent forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to a 10-day contract.

While he’s technically made his “debut”, he played 7 minutes, which is too small a sample size to conclude his utility to the Blazers as of yet.

So, how can Rondae actually help the Blazers?

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s Offense

Rondae Hollis Jefferson is by no means a great shooter. His career 3 point percentage is in the 20s, and he only converted on 13% of his few attempts last year as a Raptor. Looking at the way Derrick Jones Jr. has been utilized as a corner shooter under Stotts, this doesn’t seem very promising.

However, Rondae can be a solid slasher, especially with how much gravity Damian Lillard draws. His midrange is better than one would expect given his 3PT%, usually hovering somewhere in the 30s. He’s not a great playmaker, but he has good passing vision. On this end, Rondae could be seen as a stronger and less bouncy Derrick Jones Jr. with less shooting touch. While clearly not a great offensive player, RHJ can provide enough to be a bench piece on a team where offense is not a concern.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s Defense

Defensively, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a monster. He’s a 6’6 wing with a near 7’2 wingspan and is almost 220 pounds. He’s incredibly strong and has great defensive positioning in one-on-one situations. He’s not just a pest, he’s a genuine threat as a stopper. Hollis-Jefferson is also a great help defender, which should be of value to the 29th rated Blazers defense that tends to get lost for much of the game. He has quick hands and can almost cage opponents on the perimeter. He’s comparable to Covington on this end and should be able to help anchor a poor bench defensively.

Conclusion

Signing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson isn’t a league-changing move, but it’s a great pickup that provides the Blazers with much-needed defense. While his future with the team is unclear, he’d be a welcome presence in Portland.

In the playoffs, the Blazers’ defense will be tested tremendously. If Jefferson can continue being a disruptor on this end, look for the Blazers to play him more significant minutes moving forward.

If you’re looking to read more into the Blazers’ defensive woes, check out an older article of mine: The Portland Trail Blazers’ Defense: What’s Wrong?

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Vivan is a high school senior and aspiring computer scientist/engineer, with a passion for watching sports, especially the Portland Trail Blazers, and analyzing film and numbers.