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Al Jefferson listed in Sports Illustrated's Top 100 NBA Players

Al Jefferson is coming off a rough season. Was his ranking too high, and can he fit in today's NBA?

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Al Jefferson has had an interesting time with the Charlotte Hornets to say the least. His first season with the team led to a career outburst that nobody had ever seen from him before, and made many wonder what he would do in his debut, and while a drop off was expected it wasn't supposed to be to the level he reached. An injury riddled 2014 led to inconsistent play from Jefferson, and his inability to stay in the starting lineup took a toll on the team as a whole.

Despite Jefferson's down season, Sports Illustrated still gave Big Al a top 50 ranking in their Top 100 NBA Players rankings. Is this ranking too high? Well, according to SI this fits him despite the fluctuation from the last two seasons. They mention his ability to get 20 points a night while rarely turning the ball over, but everybody wonders how far a team can go with that being their primary source of offense. There's also the strange conundrum of his best skill being in the post in an era that is continually asking their big men to move around. Jefferson, not the fastest guy around, sticks out and obviously doesn't quite fit. Does that make him a bad player? Far from it. He's just someone that has to always be kept in mind when building an offense.

Jefferson's career is slowly, but surely, entering the twilight years and it's hard to figure out how much time he has left. The way he plays ages like a fine wine, and can keep him in the NBA for a number of years, but his injuries over the last few years could very well take their toll as time goes on. That said, he's still good enough to be the Hornets starting center, but they may want to slowly move the offense out of his hands.

If the Hornets are going to use Big Al to his best then they need to give him the proper amount of touches. It's finding that middle ground in their touches that makes discussing a player like him so difficult. He can do so many good things, and as we saw in 2013, raise a bad offense to a passable level. The problem is that he doesn't fit the way the NBA is being played today, and this will always cause problems for the offense. Steve Clfford is a smart enough coach to figure out how to best implement him, but to say it's difficult would be an understatement.