KR: We do have candidates for that. I know we have guys on this team of high character, and that is a good start. Jonny Flynn, when you look at the nature of how he plays, where he came from, how tough he is and how high his character is as a human being, he is someone who could develop into that. Al Jefferson, we have talked about being a leader. He can be a leader by action. I don’t know if he fits that role by voice, but by being a hard worker and improving, he can lead by example.
Jonah Ballow: Looking at the positions on the floor, the 2 and the 3, is there one that you favor over the other or can play at either spot?
Sasha Pavlovic: No, it makes no difference to me. I’ve been playing 2 and 3 all of my career and in Cleveland I played the 2 and 3, so there is no problem with me playing both positions.
And how often does the second-best player in a draft wind up being picked outside the lottery? It happened to Jefferson, who landed with the Celtics, at No. 15. And after two low-impact seasons in Boston, the 6-foot-10 forward-center lost weight, found a go-to low-post move and burst toward stardom with a 16-point, 11-rebound season that helped persuade former Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale to part with Garnett. Just imagine how NBA history might be different — Garnett to the Lakers, perhaps? — if Jefferson had not had his breakout season.
“I’m glad Al’s going to the Western Conference,” Ainge said after sending Jefferson and four other players to Minnesota for Garnett, the former MVP who helped deliver the ’08 title to Boston. “He’s going to be a big star.”
Looks like it. Jefferson has averaged 21.8 points and 11.1 rebounds for the Timberwolves, and has vowed to return strong from knee surgery that prematurely ended his season last February.