Who You Gonna Blame, the Player or the Team?
As a most-of-the-time starter last year on a struggling Boston team, Al Jefferson had a break-out season averaging 16 ppg & 10.9 rbg in 33.6 mpg. Despite his Celtics going 24-58, we saw Jefferson's hobby status elevate into star territory. Now, with the just-as-bad T-Wolves, he's continuing to improve and is posting up 20.7 ppg & 11.2 rpg in 36.5 mpg. This time though, his rookie values seem to be heading south, along with his team's record (2-12).
Maybe in order to reach that first hobby star level it's enough for the individual player to to do well, regardless of his team's performance. But to reach that next level and/or to even sustain their current star status, they also need to show that they can lead their team to success. One example favoring this theory is Kevin Garnett (ironically the player that Jefferson was traded for). KG averaged 22.1 ppg, 13.0 rpg & 4.6 apg over his last 3 years in Minnesota, but the team still had a 109-137 record. KG's 95-96 Finest RC, in turn, could be easily found for under $20 before this season. Now that he's leading the Celtics to success (and only averaging 20.1 ppg, 11.8 rpg & 4.0 apg), that same rookie card averaged $54.25 TAC for the month of November. Before the team had their first loss on 11/18, it was averaging $64.59, with a high of $87.55 (on 11/17).
Jefferson's 04-05 SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1999 averaged $38.30 TAC during the first half of Nov, then dropped to $31.83 in the second half, with it's most recent sales below $30. All this dropping in value and Jefferson is playing better than ever.
Jefferson is still very young (only 22 y.o.), and he will no doubt find the right situation to succeed in. Hopefully it won't take him as long as it did for KG to do so.