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The Knicks intangible force: Jared Jeffries

Jaime C. Harris | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

When former Knicks president Isiah Thomas signed Jared Jeffries in the summer of 2006, he envisioned the 6-11 forward being a multi-purpose complimentary player that would be an ideal, low maintenance fit alongside Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry.

But Marbury and Curry never developed into the championship caliber performers on which Thomas staked his career as an NBA executive. In fact, Thomas's decision to build the Knicks around Marbury and Curry was one of the most ill-fated in the franchise's history.Lost in the all failed maneuverings was Jeffries. Devoid of impressive raw numbers and beset by what seemed to be constant injuries, fans and media alike included him in the group of Thomas's awful acquisitions.But over the past two weeks, as the Knicks have made a dramatic turnaround from their 1-9 start - the worst record ever for the organization to begin a season - and catapulted to 7-15 after securing victories in four of the last five games, Jeffries's value, which should not be determined by merely utilizing basketball's three most commonly referenced individual statistics of points, rebounds and assist, has become more evident."I've always prided myself on being a winning player," Jeffries said after a strong effort on Monday night in the Knicks' 93-84 win over the Portland Trailblazers. "We already have so many players that can score," Jeffries observed. "So I look to focus on other aspects of the game to help the team like taking a charge or getting loose balls or defending {several} positions. It's all about W's."Although Jeffries tallied only six points and four rebounds in nearly 23 minutes against the Trailblazers before fouling out - his season averages are 3.7 and 3.1 respectively - it was his defense on Portland's all-star guard Brandon Roy and his overall floor game that compelled Knicks coach Mike D'Antonio to gush about "the intangibles" and the "little things" that Jeffries brings to the ball club. The Knicks will play three straight games on the road as the face the New Orleans Hornets Friday, the Charlotte Bobcats next Tuesday and the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.