But Big Al's scoring lines often look like this: 10-for-20, 3-for-5 from the line, 23 points. When I look at Minny box scores, I usually think, "Damn, that's not as many points as I'd like to see from that many field goal attempts."
Right now, Al's taking 19.2 shots per game and 4.9 free throws per game. (Jefferson is tied with four other players at #36 in the league in FTAs/game). I decided to see how many times a player had averaged 19+ FGAs and fewer than 5 FTAs per game and here's what I found: It's happened 59 times, or about once per season, since the introduction of the shot clock in 1954-55, and it's happening less often as the game evolves. It didn't happen once between 1991 and 1998. (Side note: Any theories as to why not?)
It seems like an ignominious stat, a marker of inefficiency, but there are some solid players on this list. Three players lead the way with four 19/5 seasons each: Rick Barry, Fred Carter and Mike Mitchell, a Cav and Spur from the 1980s whom my brain has, sadly, forgotten. Some other high-scoring guards and small forwards, such as Jo Jo White, Gary Payton and Alex English, also make multiple appearances. Even Larry Legend's 1989-90 season is on there.
But Al Jefferson's a big guy, you say, and you wouldn't expect him to be on this list with all these shoot-first guards who didn't spend all their time banging down low. So I switched the height variable to include only guys 6'8'' or taller. Now we're down to just 13 seasons in the shot clock era, including Al's current campaign.
What's interesting about this list is that if you take away the two Bob Lanier seasons, everyone else shot pretty poorly from the field and camped out mostly at 15 feet and beyond. We've got three classic Antoine Walker seasons (including two sub-40 FG% years), depressing late-career seasons from Legend, Chris Webber and Jamal Mashburn, and an uncharacteristic poor shooting season from KG in 1998-99.
Jefferson, in fact, would finish with the second-best FG% among this group. And he's pretty clearly more of a true low post player than the guys listed above; half his shots come from in close, and half are jumpers--a less jumper-heavy ratio than Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire, for instance.
I'm not sure if this means anything, since Big Al is 12th in the league in PER and has scored the 8th most total points in the NBA. And, of course, 4.9 FTAs puts Jefferson on the very upper boundary of this club. But for whatever reason, Big Al doesn't draw as many fouls other big men who shoot so much; 82games has his foul-drawing rate at 12.2 percent, compared with 27.2 percent for Dwight Howard and 16.9 percent for Tim Duncan.
I leave it up to Wolves fans who watch this guy play every day to give us an explanation.