Name: DeAndre Jordan
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 250 lbs
Experience: 7 years
2015-2016 Salary: 19.69 million USD
After a quiet summer that featured a lackluster free agency period, DeAndre Jordan enters this season in relative obscurity. As obscure as Steve Ballmer sitting courtside during a Fergie performance.
In actuality, Jordan will begin the 2015-2016 campaign with more eyes on him than ever before. His highly publicized and emoji-filled re-signing with the Clippers after agreeing to sign with the Dallas Mavericks has brought a level of scrutiny the big man has yet to endure in his career. After signing his first major contract four years ago, DJ was expected to become a part of a Big 3 in Los Angeles. While he did get better every year, last season was the first time he really looked the part.
While Blake Griffin was sidelined with injury, Jordan took center stage, filling up the stat box with gaudy numbers every night. That hot streak got a lot of people believing Jordan could be the centerpiece of a championship squad. Certainly enough people that, after a few twists and turns, Jordan landed as the second-highest paid Los Angeles Clipper.
With a high salary comes high expectations. Jordan is expected to be better in every way, which he can be. DJ has grown every season and appears to have a ways to go until his ceiling. If he can continue to develop his post game and get his FT% to something this side of respectable, he will be a force.
Josh Smith & @deandrejordan6 show love to the fans after @LAClippers practice in Shenzhen. #NBAGlobalGames pic.twitter.com/zdzXfVPbuE— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2015
As the longest-tenured Clipper, Jordan will need to be a leader in the locker room, as well as on the court. The Clippers have welcomed a few known malcontents into the locker room this season. DJ will need to be a stabilizing presence. The team already had bonding moment around his re-signing, there's reason to hope that carries on throughout then season.
DeAndre proved how much of a monster he can be last post-season, there was a night and day difference when we was on and off the floor. His only weakness was at the line. If he improved to even 55% from the charity stripe, it could prove to be the difference in a number of games down the stretch - both for the points and the fact that it would keep him on the floor defensively.
Part of why DJ thought of bolting to Dallas was the idea that he wanted to be the focal point of an offense. Perhaps he stayed in LA because he didn't feel quite ready for that role, but he is still going to want to see an increased number of offensive plays go through him. Jordan has led the league in field goal percentage the last few seasons. Feeding the big guy more often should be a boon for the offense.
Best case scenario, DJ averages 20 plus points, 20 plus rebounds and 4 blocks. He finally wins that elusive Defensive player of the year award and finishes top 5 in the MVP vote. He carries that success into the post-season and leads the Clippers to the promised land as a juggernaut on both ends of the floor.
Worst case scenario, Jordan crumbles under all the extra eyes brought about by his controversial free agency. DJ can't live up to the hype and averages single digits across the board. Resentment builds in the locker room and the Clippers implode in the first round.
Most likely, DeAndre shows noticeable improvement from last season and firmly cements himself as one of the best centers in the league. He will average a career high in points but his rebounds and FG% will drop slightly. He makes significant strides at the line and plays solidly in the post-season.