clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clippers 2017-18 Player Previews: DeAndre Jordan

New, comments

The Clippers’ longest-tenured player is about to enter his 10th season with the team. What can we expect from DeAndre Jordan this season?

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers-Media Day Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6’11”

Weight: 265 pounds

Age: 29

Position: Center

NBA Experience: Entering 10th season

Key Stats: DeAndre Jordan tied a career-best by averaging 12.7 points per game last season. Ranked 3rd in the league by averaging 13.8 rebounds per game. It marked the fourth consecutive year in which Jordan has averaged at least 13 boards. He shot a career-high 71.4 percent from the floor, which led the league by a wide margin. His free-throw percentage of 48.2 percent was his best mark since shooting 52.5 percent from the stripe in 2011-12.

Contract Status: On the books for $22,642,350 this season with a player option for 2018-19 worth $24,119,025.

Expectations:

DeAndre is on the verge of completing a full decade in a Clippers uniform, so it’s hard to believe he’s still only 29. Jordan was a toolsy-yet-raw big man for his first several years in the league, but his statistical leap coincides with Doc Rivers’ arrival prior to the 2013-14 season. Since then, the Clippers have been able to rely on Jordan as an elite rebounder and more than serviceable protector of the paint.

He may not see as many lobs this season without Chris Paul around, but the Clips can still rely on D.J. to be healthy and on the floor just about every night. He has missed just six games over the last five seasons combined, and he’s the only Clipper still on the roster to have played in at least 80 games last year.

Assuming he can continue to stay healthy, there’s no reason to believe Jordan won’t average a double-double for a fifth straight season and hover around two blocked shots per game.

What Jordan Offers:

D.J.’s game truly took off once Doc Rivers arrived for a reason. Rivers told Jordan that he need not worry about his offense. He was always going to be a guy that collected his points via pick-and-rolls and clean-up opportunities around the bucket. He could truly tap into his potential if he were to focus on smashing the glass and patrolling the paint. So, that’s what he did.

While he’s not a guy the Clippers are going to dump it down to in the post very often, Jordan’s offensive contributions are still massive. The last thing opposing defenses want to see is Jordan rumbling down the lane unabated toward the rim in PnR situations, because it’s probably going to end in thunderous sadness for one of their helpless bigs. CP3 may not be around anymore to feed him, but it doesn’t necessarily take the Point God to be able to throw a catchable lob to a player with Jordan’s athleticism.

Jordan’s gravity helps open shooting space around the perimeter for the Clips’ marksmen. We can use this screencap from last season (shameless plug: from this more detailed look at D.J.’s offense) as an example of the way Jordan sucks defenders in from the perimeter:

A Wesley Johnson three-point attempt may not be an ideal outcome for the Clippers in most instances, but you can see why Jordan is such a game-changer on offense.

Critics will complain that Jordan’s offensive repertoire is limited to dunking, but what’s wrong with that? Last I checked, a dunk is the highest-percentage shot in the game. Jordan’s league-leading field goal percentage was buoyed by his ability to dunk the ball a lot. D.J. had 253 jams during the regular season last year, which also led the league. Count me as a member of the camp that thinks dunks are good.

Jordan has developed a great offensive rapport with Blake Griffin over the years, and it’s going to be fun to see more Griffin/Jordan pick-and-rolls now that Griffin will likely be doing more playmaking and ball-handling for LAC.

Jordan may not be as high-quality a rim protector as the Rudy Goberts of the world, but he’s still a hugely impactful defensive presence for the Clippers. Even when he’s not blocking shots, D.J.’s sheer hulking presence in the paint is often enough to negatively impact an offensive player’s shot quality. Jordan has two All-NBA First Team Defense selections and a First-Team All-NBA selection under his belt for a reason.

Despite Jordan’s individual prowess on the boards, the Clippers have struggled to rebound the ball as a team for the last several years. We can expect the Clips to be better on the glass this season with the addition of players like Montrezl Harrell, Willie Reed and even Patrick Beverley. Even so, the team is still going to be leaning heavily on Jordan’s ability to corral loose balls and secure rebounds, as always.

As mentioned above, Jordan is under contract this season and holds a player option worth over $24 million for the 2018-19 campaign. However, Brad Turner of the LA Times reported earlier this week that Jordan has already started to talk about a contract extension with the Clips.

It will be interesting to see whether the Clippers opt to max him out. Jordan is the longest-tenured player on the roster by a mile, and he’s become a fan favorite. He clearly loves playing in LA and for the only NBA franchise he’s ever known. While he may not be a traditional max-level player, might the Clips feel the need to reward their franchise center to ensure he sticks around in the long-term?