Go get it.
It’s a phrase used too often, but there are a number of guys who you can truly throw the rock up and have them go get it. DeAndre Jordan is one of those guys.
Leading the League with 227 dunks last year (Dwight Howard was the next closest at 177), Jordan straight up put a hurting on the rims. Oops, tip dunks, rim runs in transition. You name it, he did it.
But when you really watch DJ’s game, you realize that he is far more than a dunker.
In today’s NBA game that is ever so reliant upon pick-and-roll play, DeAndre Jordan is the king of post players. He constantly flips the angles of screens, reading the D and then adjusting to the reaction of the opposing PG who he is about to lay out with a screen. After setting the screen, the 28-year-old knows how long to hold the pick before jetting to the rim for a potential lob. This is just one of the area of his game that don’t necessarily show up in the box score.
Another area of Jordan’s game that is vastly underrated is his ability to rebound the rock. Not only does he do a great job of finding his man to box out, but he then explodes up to grab the pill well above the rim with both hands. The commitment and dedication that he has put forth on this side of things is evident, especially when you look at the numbers.
Having never averaged more than 8 boards a game throughout his first five years in the League, he shot up to nearly 14 a night in the ’13-14 campaign and hasn’t looked back. He has solidified himself as one of the truly elite rebounders in the league and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
On the defensive end, Jordan is just as dominant. His ability to protect the rim goes far beyond the ridiculous blocked shots that he sends into the crowd. Jordan knows how to wall up on defenders, altering shots that he doesn’t block without committing fouls. In pick-and-roll coverage, he is a quarterback, constantly being vocal and calling out screens. The 2.3 blocks a night that he averaged don’t tell the full story of how much of an impact that he has on the game.
Offensively, DeAndre doesn’t receive a huge number of touches with his back to the basket, but has shown flashes of development. Nearly 75 percent of his field-goals made were dunks, which is wild given the fact that, as one of the best players in the League, he only attempted 6.6 shots a night.
DJ’s field-goal percentage has been right at or above the 70 percent clip for the last three seasons, and he’s led the League in the same category for the last four. While no one is expecting the Houston native to start busting out dream shakes any time soon, his back to the basket game is far from a finished product.
Everyone hates on Jordan’s struggles at the free-throw line and rightfully so. Shooting just 43 percent is atrocious, but what’s even more puzzling is that the form on his shot is far from broke. Having been to multiple Clippers pregames, I personally can say that DJ will be in the arena hours before tip working from the stripe. How and why he has not shown improvement is beyond me, but it certainly has nothing to do with lack of effort or desire to improve.
The ’16-17 season is going to be a crucial one for the Clippers. Given Golden State’s reign of terror, it’s going to be tough for anyone else to get out of the West. The Clippers’ core has been consistent with getting them to the post season, but this year may be the year that the band may have to be broken up if things don’t go as planned. Whatever happens with the squad itself, as long as history repeats itself, expect to see a big jump from L.A.’s blossoming 7-footer this season.
DEANDRE JORDAN SLAM TOP 50 HISTORY
|SLAM Top 50 Players 2016|
Rankings are based on expected contribution in 2016-17—to players’ team, the NBA and the game.
Follow the entire #SLAMTop50 countdown.