Jerebko may be from Sweden, but his versatility resembles the multi-functionality of a Swiss army knife. He even has those tools that nobody really uses anymore, but still come in handy from time to time.

Before I get into Jerebko’s diverse contributions to the Celtics, I would like to differentiate Sweden and Switzerland for those who might not know the difference.

Sweden is a very large country that is located in northern Europe. It’s sandwiched between Norway and Finland, with the Gulf of Bothnia spanning between much of Finland.

Switzerland is fairly small country that is land-locked between Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein.

The differences between the two countries are immense, although statistical data from both demographics are strangely similar.

OK, now that I have assured Swedish people and Swiss people that I do not think they are the same country, let’s get back to basketball.

Jerebko’s greatest asset is his ability to hit the three

Photo by: Mitchell Leff

Image Credit: Getty Images

In November, Jonas shot 50% from three, which included a stretch where he literally couldn’t miss. December has not been as kind to Jerebko, though he started it off on the right note. He shot 6 for 12 in his first five game in December. Since then, he has really struggled, shooting 2 for 14 in his last six games. Overall, he is a very good three point shooter, and has even added a little arc to his shot.

The tools nobody uses anymore

Photo by: Mitchell Leff

Image Credit: Getty Images

For the Swiss army knife, that tool is probably the can opener thing. For Jerebko, it is the running hook shot. I was very critical of Jerebko in the preseason because he was going into the paint too often. Jerebko doesn’t have the vertical athleticism, or strength to go in the paint and finish consistently. His consistent attacking of the paint led to a lot of poor shots, or blocked shots. I thought he was trying to do too much.

At some point in the season, Jerebko seemed to look himself in the mirror and remind himself of the type of player he is, and how he can be effective. He is a three point shooting floor spacer, who is active defensively. But, he still hung onto his running hook shot, and pulls it out every now and again. He has been very effective with it, and it adds a dynamic to his game that can only benefit him and the team.

His versatility on defense is his greatest asset

This has been a tough year for Jonas on the defensive end of the floor. He’s had to spend a lot of time playing with young players like Rozier and Brown. Those two still have a ways to go to figure out NBA defenses, and it has shown on the court at times. Also. the Celtics roster has been shuffled around a few times due to injuries, which has made communicating amongst each other a little more challenging. It takes time getting used to playing with teammates, and learning subtle things that may be communications.

The Celtics have played 31 games this season, and during their first ten Jerebko was a -53 plus/minus. The next ten games he recorded a 17 plus minus. Then he posted a 11 over his next ten games. Jerebko was a -2 for the 31st game in New York on Christmas. That’s a really big turnaround after the first ten games, and indicative of Jerebko’s commitment and willingness to step back and access the situation.

Jerebko is a borderline starter for the Celtics

There has been some speculation that Jerebko may be starting soon in place of Amir Johnson. Johnson has had an up and down season, and doesn’t offer the spacing that Jerebko offers. Jerebko has also rebounded at a better rate than Johnson, which is an area the Celtics have struggled. Johnson is pulling in 14% of the defensive rebounds, while Jerebko has pulled in 16. 3%. Amir’s minutes were also on the decline, while Jerebko’s minutes were on the rise.

Photo by: Mitchell Leff

Image Credit: Getty Images

Over the last few games the trend in minutes between the two has shifted back in Amir’s favor. But, Amir has a tendency of playing well in patches, while Jerebko is a more consistent player. The problem with playing Jonas over Amir is size. Some teams may have too much size at power forward and center for Brad Stevens to feel comfortable starting Jerebko. Johnson may have an advantage over guarding larger players, but Jerebko is capable of guarding skilled forwards.

It wasn’t that long ago that Jonas found himself guarding LeBron James for long stretches. Jerebko’s defensive position and height allows him to back off quicker players, and still be able to contest their shots. So, his playing time is often determined by match-ups. If teams play small ball, Stevens won’t hesitate to put Jerebko at power forward or even center.

Jerebko is a great team guy and a role model for younger players

Photo By: Brian Babineau

Image Credit: Getty Images

Jonas has a busy life, and he makes good use of his time away from basketball. Some older generations may argue against that because he does spend a lot of time playing video games. But, he is actively involved and invested in electronic sports, which is quickly becoming a serious sport. Disney and Major League Baseball recently purchased the streaming rights through a jointly owned company called BAMTech for $300 million.

Jerebko isn’t exactly a top earner in the NBA, but his commitment to building a career outside of basketball is an important lesson for young players. There are no guarantees in basketball, so it’s important for players to be smart with their money. Stories popup every year about players who wasted their millions made as a professional athlete. Most successful careers are over by the time a player reaches their mid-thirties, so it’s important to look beyond basketball.

Jerebko’s contract makes him susceptible to being traded

While Jerebko offers Coach Stevens versatility on the court, he also offers Ainge versatility on the trade block. Jonas’s contract expires after this season, so a team looking to shed salary for next season could see him a valuable part in a trade. Also, the NBA requires salaries being traded to come close to matching, so his $5 million could be a key part in making a trade work.

Celtics’ fans have been waiting for a trade for a couple years now, and nothing has happened. Plus, Jerebko is a valuable asset to have, and Ainge will likely try to avoid trading him if he can. There are about seven weeks left until the trade deadline, so we will have to wait and see if Jerebko is going to finish the season with the Celtics, or move on to a different club.

Jonas is great for basketball in Sweden

Jonas is the only Swedish player playing in the NBA right now. There are two other players from Sweden that made it to the NBA. Damir Markota and Jeffery Taylor both had brief stints in the NBA, but no player has been as successful as Jerebko. Sweden has a very active sports community, but basketball is pretty far down the list of popular sports. Basketball as a whole has risen world-wide, and the competition has made up serious ground over the last couple decades. Perhaps, Jerebko’s success will inspire young Swedish children to pickup a basketball, and maybe even go onto becoming the next Jerebko.