Snapshot: A look back at Richard Jefferson, the quintessential slasher

Richard Jefferson made a career out of cutting through the lane and finishing at the rim, whether that meant dunking on people or scoring layups.

An NBA champion, Jefferson played his first seven NBA seasons with the New Jersey Nets. He had his best years in New Jersey, making a name for himself as an athletic forward who could also shoot from the perimeter.

According to Basketball Reference, Jefferson ranks fourth in Nets history for points (8,507). During his time with the Nets, he averaged 17.4 points per game and shot 33.8% from the 3-point line. He has career averages of 12.6 points per game on 46.4% shooting from the field.

Jefferson walked into the best of circumstances when he started his career with the Nets in 2001.

Jason Kidd had been traded to the Nets during the summer of 2001. As one of the best passers ever, Kidd had the perfect complement in Jefferson, the epitome of a slasher. According to Basketball Reference, Jefferson shot 61.6% on shots 0-3 feet from the hoop during his tenure with the Nets.

During their first season together, Jefferson and Kidd took the Nets to the NBA Finals. They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sweep. The following season, the Nets went back to the Finals and lost to the San Antonio Spurs in six games.

Jefferson and Kidd never went to the Finals again, but in December 2004 they gained a valuable teammate in Vince Carter. Carter was traded from the Toronto Raptors to New Jersey. Once Carter came on, the Nets boasted one of the most entertaining teams in the league.

Carter already had a reputation as an elite dunker and quality scorer, and with Jefferson at the other wing, the Nets could play a quick pace.

Jefferson’s last season in New Jersey was the 2007-08 campaign. That same season was also perhaps the best of his career. He led the Nets in scoring, and he averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game. He also shot 36.2% from the 3-point line, which was his second-best 3-point percentage while with the franchise.

During the rest of his career, Jefferson played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets. He won his lone NBA title with the Cavs in 2016.

Now an analyst with the YES Network, Jefferson commentates on the Nets’ games. A budding media personality, Jefferson also appears on ESPN and is a host on the Road Trippin’ podcast. Though he isn’t hooping anymore, Jefferson had a career that was filled with hard cuts to the rim.

A solid shooter, Jefferson was an offensive threat who could score and regularly be one of the best players on the floor.

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