Othyus Jeffers trying to make most out of his latest NBA stint
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Othyus Jeffers' pro career has been spent as a journeyman, trying to fill a role whenever he may be needed.
The Timberwolves were in desperate need of an extra man after a rash of injuries had taken hold of their lineup in the final weeks of the season.
The 28-year-old guard, who spent training camp with the Wolves, was signed Tuesday for the season's last eight days. Jeffers took over the roster spot left open after Minnesota waived guard A.J. Price, who was originally picked over Jeffers for a spot back in October.
While at one point in his career the frustration of not being able to stick with a team used to weigh on him, Jeffers has come to peace with his constant battle to find a place on an NBA roster.
"I'm passed that phase," Jeffers said, smiling at the question. "I'm 28 now. When I was younger I went through it a lot."
"My emotions are calm ... I've always been in the position where I have to prove myself, but I always know my job, and that is to help the team the best way I know how, starting with defense."
Since going undrafted in 2008 out of Robert Morris University, Jeffers has been with four teams across a five-year span, starting with the Utah Jazz in 2009. He has played in only 36 career NBA games. Much of his career has been spent in the NBA D-League with the Iowa Energy.
With a reputation as a relentless defender, Jeffers has stuck around in the pro ranks. In January, San Antonio picked up Jeffers from the Energy on a 10-day contract to serve as an injury replacement -- the second time in three years the Spurs have signed him to a 10-day deal. In his short stints with the Spurs, he has gained the admiration of coach Gregg Popovich.
"He's a real guy. He's tough. He's not fake tough. He's tough," Popovich said. "He's really coachable, great teammate ... good defender."
Jeffers put up gaudy numbers in the D-League this season as he averaged 20.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 44 games.
His familiarity with the Wolves made him an obvious option to step in as injury relief.
Now that he is back with Minnesota, albeit for a short span, Jeffers is trying to leave a lasting impression that he hopes may keep him in the minds of the Wolves' front office personnel heading into the offseason.
"I'm here to lend a helping hand, go out there and play defense," Jeffers said. "And let the organization know what else I could bring to the table. Hopefully it pans out for next season."
Jeffers has played sparingly in his first two games with the Wolves. After coming in for the final two minutes of Minnesota's win over San Antonio Tuesday, he put up two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes on Wednesday against the Bulls.