This is the twelfth of our Clips Nation "exit interviews" of the 2012
Name: DeAndre Jordan
In a Nutshell:
We've heard, "you can't teach size" over and over with regards to DeAndre Jordan's contract, but how much are GM's willing to pay for size alone? Size isn't everything. I hate to start off the exit interview talking about the man's salary, but deciding on whether he was worth the $10 million he was paid is one of the most controversial topics on this site.
DeAndre's progression is somewhat opposite of Eric Bledsoe's this year. At the start of the season, he was signed to be an integral part of the team as the defensive anchor, but with the signing of Kenyon Martin, we saw DJ's minutes shrink and in the playoffs he wasn't even closing out games.
You can't teach size and you can't teach athleticism either. The long-limbed member of the explosive front court duo was a dunking and shot blocking machine. It was easy to see why we were excited seeing the potential of a Blake Griffin/DJ front court. If an opposing player left either of them alone, said player might end up in a poster before they even knew it. If DJ got the ball anywhere near the basket, he was going to finish it. He converted 67% of his shots at the rim (288 of his 365 shots were within three feet of the rim). On the defensive end, he was a terrific shot blocker, averaging two blocks per game.
Decision making. I'm still in doubt as to whether he makes the right decision consistently on the court. He's not nearly as bad as he was last season (when I can recall him making at least two three-second violations per game), but he's definitely not to where I would like him to be. I love the fact that he's embraced his role as the defensive anchor, but feel that he needs to learn what a defensive anchor should be. Blocking shots is one part of playing defense as a big man, but it isn't everything. He doesn't box out particularly well, often leaves his man to go chasing after a low probability weak-side block (don't get me wrong, he does alter a lot of shots) and sometimes just loses his man in general and isn't in the right place.
Future with the Clippers:
Outside of a blockbuster trade, I think DeAndre will be a Clipper for awhile. I'm not sure he earned his contract this year, but he's shown improvement every year and I think he will improve by leaps and bounds with a real training camp and preseason. The Clippers don't need him to be a court wizard out there, he just needs to learn the simple things; put a body on someone, control the urge to go for the mega-block and to keep track of where he needs to be.
As for the salary, looking at some salaries for other NBA centers, while the five people directly above him deserved to be paid more (Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, Nene Hilario, Marc Gasol and Andrew Bogut), the five below him arguably, with exception to Bargnani, deserve to be paid less (Marcus Camby, Andris Biedrins, Andrea Bargnani, Anderson Varejao and Brendan Haywood). I'd say that means his salary is pretty on point.