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Midseason Roundtable Grades: DeAndre Jordan

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DeAndre Jordan went to his first All Star game this past weekend. Did he deserve that honor for his play this season? Our writers decide.

NBA: All Star Game-Eastern at Western Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kenneth Armstrong: A

His free throws have crept up to 50%, which is a great seven point jump from last year. This has dissuaded opponents from hacking him, late in games, and has helped the Clippers play their game in the fourth quarter. He is still crazy efficient as a shooter/ dunker (69%, leading the league again) and is top three in rebounding per game (about 14 per game). I have been worried about his involvement in the offense, which is often low when Chris Paul is out of the line up, but hopefully he will find more opportunities with Blake back.

Shapan Debnath: B

DJ has been mostly good all year, but I do find myself occasionally forgetting he's on the floor while watching this team, and that's probably because the defense has gone many stretches completely hemorrhaging points. Maybe I'm taking Jordan for granted a bit, but then you see other stretches where he totally dominates on both ends, being a defensive menace while also being a dive man that has to absolutely be reckoned with. I can forgive Jordan being less of a great roll man with Paul being out, but those stretches where I don't feel him on the defensive end keep me from giving him a higher grade.

Thomas Wood: B

The All-Star debutante was the Clippers' lone representative, another formality in his inclusion in the team's Big Three. DeAndre continues to refine all parts of his game, and he's added more to his low-post offense while excising more of his few remaining defensive bad habits. But his dominance next to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin made his mediocrity in their absence more apparent. His malaise became the team's, as the Clippers scuffled their way out of the West's top three. DeAndre's earned the plaudits, but he's also earned the weight of higher expectations.

James Nisky: B

DJ has been durable as usual, and doing things like defending and rebounding in ways other men his size can't. DJ is on a max deal, and in the Clippers' system which is built around Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, he's worth it. This season has shown DJ play without a combination of Blake and/or DJ for longer than any stretch since 2011, and it's frustrated Clips fans at times. DJ is in as good of shape as ever, but he's look disinterested in some road games this year. DJ is an energy/will big man, and players like that must go 100% every game, and there's been a few too many half efforts for me to give an A.

Without Blake, DJ was asked to be the pick man for Redick's dribble hand-off scheme, and because DJ can't shoot or get to the rim from the high elbow, it basically reduced what is generally a go-to set for the Clips to nothing. I can't go full A for DJ because there's still no offensive game outside of the paint---even his passing is suspect---and his post game looks moderately improved, but it's not a tool the Clippers can rely on comfortably. Still, DJ is an elite rebounder, some might say the premier rebounder in the NBA, and he is a feared rim protector.

Robert Flom: B+

DeAndre Jordan has mostly played at an All Star level this year, and I was very happy that he finally got recognized for his efforts. If Chris Paul is the mouth and heart of the Clippers’ defense, DJ is the backbone. While he isn’t perfect on that end, he’s a dominant rebounder and effective rim protector also capable of switching onto smaller players and defending them credibly. That’s a lot of responsibility, and, again, he has mostly lived up to it. On offense, his dives to the rim clear up space for the rest of the team, and he cleans up a lot of misses. He’s even upped his free throw percentage substantially, preventing overabundant use of hack-a-DJ. The issue with DJ has never been the skillset, but the consistency with which he uses it. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed this season, and there have been a few too many games where he hasn’t shown up at all. That just can’t happen this far into his NBA career, and is the reason why he gets a B+ instead of an A.

Max Jeffrey: A

Coming off of a season during which he claimed All-NBA First Team and All-Defense First Team honors, as well as a summer during which he earned an Olympic gold medal for Team USA, DeAndre Jordan had some lofty expectations heading into this season. Such expectations weren’t particularly self-driven or team-driven but, rather, driven by the media and NBA fanbase at-large; these expectations were centered around the idea that this would be the season he would take a major leap offensively, or at least demand a greater offensive role. But what makes Jordan so great is that he knows and understands his vital role on this Clippers team. He firmly remains the anchor of the Clippers’ defense while playing to his additional strengths, all for the sake of winning. Jordan leads the team in offensive rebounds (3.5), defensive rebounds (10.2), total rebounds (13.8), and blocks (1.7) per game while shooting 69.5% from the field. And what conventional stats won’t tell you is what an excellent screener he is in helping shooters get open looks, what a dominant repellant he is in the paint for opposing offenses even when he isn’t rebounding or blocking shots, and what a vocal leader he has often been for this team. Jordan has had some rare defensive lapses, moments where he hasn’t appeared entirely engaged, but he also has yet to miss a game this season (the only starter to do so). And Jordan just made his first All-Star appearance this past weekend to the delight of Clippers fans everywhere. Jordan, the longest-tenured player in Clippers franchise history, is also its all-time leader in rebounds (6,472) and blocks (1,169)..and he’s still got plenty more basketball to play.