Name: Hyland DeAndre Jordan, Jr. (Hyland! Really!)
Age: 27 (28 in July)
Years in NBA: 8
2015-16 salary: $19,689,000
Future contract status: Under contract through 2017/18 with a player option for 2018/19.
Key stats: Ranked No. 3 in the league in rebound rate at 22.2, trailing only Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside. 10.2 net rating, fourth on the club behind Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Luc Mbah a Moute. Jordan led the NBA with a field goal percentage of 70.3%, the second consecutive season he's topped said category.
Summary: DeAndre Jordan's lengthy consecutive games streak came to an end this season at 360, but he was still one of the few players that was largely healthy in a season marred and ultimately doomed by the injury bug. Along with Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, Jordan was instrumental in leading the Clips to another 50+ win season, even though Blake Griffin was sidelined for about half of it.
Regardless of the way the season came screeching to a halt, Jordan's continued two-way excellence should draw no shortage of appreciation, especially after what transpired during his free agency period last July.
Aside from his underrated offensive contributions, Jordan is one of the NBA's premier rebounders and shot-blockers. D.J.'s almost unfair combination of length and athleticism make him a terrifying presence in the paint defensively, and he's about as effective as a shot-affecter as he is a shot-blocker. While he may not be your traditional, back-to-the-basket center on offense, his superb screen setting and the danger he presents as a rim roller are just as crucial to the Clipper offense as Redick's shooting or Paul's passing. D.J. was also the league's preeminent dunker this season, leading the way with 227. That's 50 more jams than Dwight Howard (second place) threw down. Jordan has developed into almost all of what you'd want your modern day NBA center to be.
His primary shortcoming, of course, is the free throw shooting. Since he inexplicably shot a decent (for him) 52.5% from the stripe in 2011/12 season, he's never shot better than the 43% he connected on this past year. The Hack-a-thon from the playoffs last year apparently inspired more teams to employ the tactic in 2015/16, as D.J.'s free throw attempts per game shot up from 5.7 last season to 8.0.
While he does block a ton of shots and affects countless others, DeAndre isn't exactly the most fundamentally sound defender. Chasing blocks obviously has its benefits, but there at times he can find himself out of position after trying to fly in for some weakside help, only to leave his man wide open at the rim for an easy bucket. This is something that comes with the territory as a shot-blocker, and the Clips will live with it.
Future with the Clippers:
After signing his max deal last summer, Jordan is on the Clippers' books for longer than any other player. He has the ability to become a free agent ahead of the 2018/19 campaign when he'll be on the verge of turning 30. Assuming nothing drastically changes with his performance over the next two seasons, one would imagine he'll opt out and seek another monster payday that summer.
Of course, that's all assuming Doc Rivers decides against blowing it up before then. We've heard whispers of the possibility of a roster shakeup since their brief playoff run ended, but Doc has already said he has no real plans of unloading talent this offseason. Jordan would certainly net a sizable haul in any trade, but it's tough to imagine the club taking that route any time soon. He'll be around for a while.
As is typically the case with DeAndre, we have an assortment of dunks and blocks from which to choose here. His posterizations of Mason Plumlee and Marcus Smart come to mind, as well as the time he knocked the rim out of alignment against the Warriors. But my personal favorite D.J. moments this season came when the Clips made their lone voyage to Madison Square Garden. LAC wrecked the poor Knicks that night, and DeAndre finished with a team-high 20 points. Six of his 20 came off of dunks on three consecutive Clipper possessions:
This was the 3rd, and most impressive, one. pic.twitter.com/Pb3ir7bsai— Clips Nation (@ClipsNationSBN) January 23, 2016