clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What you don't know about new Phoenix Suns forward Cory Jefferson

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We hooked up with to get some insight into new Phoenix Suns 6'9" forward Cory Jefferson, who was signed to a make-good contract for training camp (no guarantees).

Jefferson would be the team's #4 power forward this season, clearly behind Morris, Teletovic and Leuer. But he's a totally different player than any of those guys, so is a nice change of pace. At the least, he could be a D-League player for the Jam so the Suns can keep his rights throughout the season like they did with Earl Barron last year.

We might not see a lot of Jefferson, but he did play a good amount for the Nets last season and might be a player to keep your eye on.

And right now, he's one of only two power forwards (Leuer) running pick up games with 10 of the Suns' contract players these past two weeks. So he's getting a huge chance to play with Knight, Bledsoe and Alex Len.

Here's our Q and A with SB Nation partner

1) Cory was the 60th pick in the draft but managed to play in 50 games, including one start. What are Cory's best skills right now as an NBA player?

--- Cory's nickname is "Mr. Irrelevant" after being the last pick in the draft. To me, and compliment to him, I thought "Pogo stick" was a better fit. That's what you think of when you see him play. He can jump out of a gym and use his long arms (7' 0.5" wingspan) to block shots and grab rebounds. He has the ability to hit an open jumper but it shouldn't be relied upon. He shot a poor 39 percent when shooting from 3-10 feet, but 52 percent from 10-16 feet. Not shabby, but not consistent enough to be trusted outside of the paint.

If given a solid chance, however, he can work well in a pick & roll system. And judging from Summer League, Cory looks like he put on some muscle from last season. Maybe it'll give him a physical advantage down low, along with his athleticism to fight on the glass.

2) You might not be surprised that the Suns picked up Jefferson, considering his career best game was 12 points and 13 rebounds against the Suns. Was it the awful play of the Suns, or an inspired game by Jefferson that played the biggest part?

--- It was Jefferson showing what he is capable of, especially because of his athleticism. Two plays displayed Cory's bread and butter: Chasing down loose rebounds and running in transition. We saw this in spurts with Jefferson throughout the season, serving as a quick energy boost because of his athleticism and hustle.

Here's his career best game. Against the Suns, of course.

3) Were you disappointed with the Nets letting Jefferson go?

--- I was disappointed because I believed one day he could've formed into a decent role player for the Nets - somebody whom they developed and could be proud of if he proved himself worthy. Being the last pick in the draft, it's hard to NOT root for somebody like that. Not to mention, his willingness to learn from Kevin Garnett and other leaders within the organization was definitely a huge upside of his.

4) Are there any interesting facts about Cory that Suns fans should know?

--- The story behind Jefferson's number 21. Jefferson received a call from his friend/teammate at Baylor, Isaiah Austin. Austin called Cory to tell him that he wasn't going to play basketball anymore because he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. Jefferson, in Austin's honor, decided to wear his Baylor number 21 for his rookie season with the Nets. In his debut with Austin looking on, Jefferson scored 8 points and grabbed 2 rebounds in nine minutes.

5) What kind of potential career do you think Cory will have in the NBA?

--- I question whether Cory will be ever be able to play at a high enough level to receive a second-string job, but I still feel he'll make a living in the league. Teams will want his motor and see the upside in his hustle and athleticism and hopefully give him a legitimate chance to prove himself. If he stays on path and continues to develop, maybe "Mr. Irrelevant" can change the script on that nickname. He'll just need to seize the opportunity.

Here's his draft preview highlight reel.

Can Jefferson make the team?

Probably not. He's not better than Jon Leuer, who has been in the NBA for years and provides some stretch abilities with his three-pointers.

And really, Jon Leuer's best NBA game (which was also against the Suns) was better than Jefferson's.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bright Side of the Sun Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Phoenix Suns news from Bright Side of the Sun