#WizardsRank: The Great Othyus Jeffers, No. 21
Truth About It.net will turn a whole five years old at the end of this October.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
Participants were given the full list of 56 in alphabetical order, and included for each player were total games, minutes, PER (player efficiency rating), and WS/48 (win-shares per 48 minutes) only from the last five seasons. Participants were asked to rate each player on the scale of 1-to-10 according to this criteria: on court performance; off court performance; intangibles; and own personal memory. Yes, this is totally subjective, but relatively collective.
NOTE: #WizardsRank Nos. 56 to 22 have been posted and links can be found below. Now, we’ll start releasing player rankings one or so at a time. -Kyle W.
4.76 out of 10
(16 games, 314 minutes, 13.7 PER, .104 WS/48)
The ballad of Othyus Jeffers is a sad song, one that you would hear on Country Western radio. Here is a man that rode into D.C., helped bring a little relevancy to a floundering team, only to disappear into the sunset never to be seen again. Jeffers arrived as an undersized wing forward (6-foot-5) from the Austin Toros (the Wiz flipping the script and stealing from the Spurs for once), and by his seventh game he was playing over twenty minutes a night. What made Jeffers stand out (much like James Singleton before him) was the effort he brought to every game. Jeffers played every single one like his career was on the line, and to a certain point it was, as he was reaching his expiration date as D-League journeyman. However, unlike many of the D-League call-ups before him, Jeffers wasn’t simply trying to get his in an attempt to attract attention (though he did execute the Jordanesque “hold the ball out and then go around your man” move which no one has seen since the early 1990s). He did things that the young Wizards didn’t want to do — play defense, execute fundamentally and run the game plan set forth by Flip Saunders. Said the coach at the time:
“It should prove to our veterans and guys who aren’t playing at times that, hey, if you play hard, you give yourselves a chance if you play as a team … but yet, you’ve got a guy in O who was playing in the NBDL (sic) two weeks ago. Now he is starting and playing 30 minutes and being very productive. And he’s not playing like there is someone behind him, he’s chasing someone, he’s hungry, and our guys are playing like that and that’s a positive … competition is good, competition is really good.”
Jeffers’ response was one of understatement:
“I mean, that’s what the team pays me for. They pay me to go out there and get after people. And hopefully it works out and I can last longer … I’m not doing nothing that I’m not supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be working this hard. I’m trying to make it here. I’m supposed to be doing this. The little things that other people don’t want to do, I should be doing this. So I don’t look as if I’m different from anyone else on the team, I should be doing it.”
This attitude was a tonic to Wizards fans who had become almost shell-shocked by the selfish play and me-first attitude of the team. Here was a guy who wanted to perform at his job! A guy who was giving it all … a guy who was also stunningly funny, if slightly sardonic. In a game against the Miami Heat in which the 6-foot-5 (more like 6-foot-2) Jeffers consistently out jumped the human ostrich Chris Bosh for offense rebounds, every reporter asked how he achieved such an incredible feat.
“It’s basketball. I mean, it’s nothing hard. I’ve been doing it my entire life, I’ve always played against taller people. Get into the right position, beat him to the spot, jump and grab.”
Alas, the story of Othyus Jeffers ended the way of many of their more promising D-League call-ups. Jeffers option was exercised by the Wizards, but he tore his ACL during the lockout and was not brought back by the team. He, however, remains constantly active in both the gym and on Twitter, and I would not be stunned to see him back in the league sooner rather than later. As one of his last Twitter missives read (@OthyusTheGreat):
“Had a great day in the gym today!!! One more to knock out tomorrow, so pass the word… The •Lock•ness Monster is back!!!”
Sean Fagan ][ @McCarrick
Remember when LeBron dunked on Jeffers?
He was a good sport about it, though.
No. 56: Cedric Jackson; No. 55: Mike Bibby; No. 54: Paul Davis; No. 53: Edwin Ubiles; No. 52: Quinton Ross.
No. 51: Mike Wilks; No. 50: Mike Harris; No. 49: Javaris Crittenton; No. 48: Dee Brown; No. 47: Morris Almond.
No. 46: Larry Owens; No. 45: Mustafa Shakur; No. 44: Brian Cook; No. 43: Hamady N’diaye; No. 42: Rashard Lewis.
No. 41: Hilton Armstrong; No. 40: Oleksiy Pecherov; No. 39: Mike James; No. 38: Fabricio Oberto; No. 37: Ronny Turiaf.
No. 36: Lester Hudson; No. 35: Yi Jianlian; No. 34: Juan Dixon; No. 33: Josh Howard; No. 32: Chris Singleton.
No. 31: Al Thornton; No. 30: Shelvin Mack; No. 29: Mo Evans; No. 28: Mike Miller; No. 27: Alonzo Gee.
No. 26: Randy Foye; No. 25: Dominic McGuire; No. 24: Andray Blatche; No. 23: Earl Boykins; No. 22: Roger Mason.