Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is headed back to where his career all started. Well, at least to where he was drafted. The original announcement came from Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted Hollis-Jefferson with the 23rd pick in the 2015 pick. They had traded him to the Brooklyn Nets for Mason Plumlee and a second-round pick that had turned into Pat Connaughton.
Since the Portland Trail Blazers traded Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood for Norman Powell, they have had two extra roster spots available. One of those spots has been available all year. All teams are required to have a minimum of 14 players on the roster, starting on April 9th.
The 26 year old was originally expected to crack the rotation of the Minnesota Timberwolves. But, was cut after training camp.
Hollis-Jefferson has never fully found his jumper to fit the true mold of a 3 and D guy, but he will bring some great defense to a Portland Trail Blazers team that desperately needs it.
In his career, Hollis-Jefferson is averaging 9.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks. The last time he played was in 2019-20 with the Toronto Raptors. That season he averaged 7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.8 steals. However, his stats will not show what he brings to the table. You have to look deeper into the defensive stats. That is where he is going to impress and shine for a team that has been struggling on the defensive end. In his career, he has a Defensive Rating of 107, his career Defensive Win Shares sit at 8.5, and Defensive Box Plus/Minus at 0.9.
He is 6’6” with a 7’2” wingspan which allows him to guard taller players. If Hollis-Jefferson can come close to those numbers again for the Blazers, he will be the best defender on the team. At least when it comes to those ratings.
When asked about the signing after the game against the Bucks, Terry Stotts would not elaborate on the role that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would play. But, you could expect the Blazers to now play some true small ball lineups, which could provide good defense as well. With Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Derrick Jones Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Robert Covington, Nassir Little, Anfernee Simons and now Hollis-Jefferson all in the mix.
So how would lineups stack up?
PG: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons SG: CJ McCollum, Norman Powell SF: Norman Powell, Derrick Jones Jr., Nassir Little PF: Robert Covington, Carmelo Anthony, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson C: Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter, Harry Giles
When going to a small ball defensive lineup either RHJ or Covington could play the center position.
This move is a no-risk move for the Blazers as it only a 10-day contract at first. According to Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian. If does well enough then he may be rewarded with a contract the rest of the season. Adding RHJ to the roster will also reunite him with his former teammate Norman Powell.
More to come!
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