With everyone else chasing the Allen Iverson rumors and Blake Griffin's first game, I thought it was a nice time to talk to Kim Hughes about the evident improvement in DeAndre Jordan's game. As a seven footer with NBA experience, Hughes is not just the Clippers' top assistant and summer league head coach, but also their de facto big man coach. He's had a big part in Chris Kaman's development over the years, and he's been working with DeAndre this off-season.
Kim told me that DeAndre has been working hard to work on his game this off-season. He's got a nice right hand jump hook (which we saw him make yesterday) but needs to get more arch on his left handed hook. As you might expect, coach was disappointed in the 5 rebounds and 3 turnovers. He felt like DeAndre was just trying to do too much on most of the miscues.
I expressed surprise at the move DeAndre made from the wing, facing the basket. Coach was less suprised than I was. "Yeah, he can do that. He can absolutely do that."
I asked about the positive influence that Blake Griffin appears to have had on his fellow class of 2007 buddy. Hughes confirmed that it's not our imagination. "The trainer told me that he saw DeAndre drinking an egg white shake with Blake the other day. I never saw DeAndre eat anything but McDonalds last season." He also said that they've been going head to head in practice.
I closed the interview by referencing the trio of 20 year olds that the Clippers have as building blocks. Hughes agrees that it's exciting. He says Griffin has barely scratched his potential, thinks that Gordon is going to be a great scorer in the league for years to come, and also believes that Jordan can be a big contribitor if he keeps working hard.
DeAndre Jordan remains a work in progress and there was evidence of both work and progress in his first summer league game this year. He's obviously got all of the physical tools to some day be a very good NBA center. With Blake Griffin pushing him in practice, it's looking like he may get there ahead of schedule.