Q+A: DeAndre Jordan
SLAMonline catches up with the Lob City center.
by Tracy Weissenberg / @basketballista
After reaching the second round of the Playoffs for only the second time since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, the Clippers finally look ready to make a splash. With new additions Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford, plus the re-signing of Chauncey Billups and extension to Blake Griffin, the Clippers organization seems anything but content with last season’s success.
DeAndre Jordan took in a summer league game on Wednesday from the stands, and spoke about the potential of the new nucleus.
SLAM: The Clippers have gone through a lot of changes this offseason. How exciting is it to add veteran pieces to the club?
DeAndre Jordan: It’s really exciting. I’m excited to work with those guys. I worked out with Lamar today. He’s going to be great for our team, so is Grant, so is Jamal Crawford. Us signing back Chauncey is huge. So if we could get in training camp and jell, it’s gonna be a new team this year. We have the pieces, we just have to work and learn each other’s games.
SLAM: How was working out with Lamar? How is his mindset right now? How does he look physically?
DJ: His mindset is great, he looks great. There was always room for improvement for us, but he looks great, he’s ready to work, he’s ready to compete and we all know what our goal is. He’s definitely going to help us get there. With him being able to guard and play multiple positions, we’re gonna definitely be a threat.
SLAM: After getting to the second round last season, what do you think the team needs to do to reach the next level?
DJ: It really just was that first Playoff experience for a lot of the guys—it was only like a couple of guys who had really had Playoff experience on our team last year. For us to get that experience now, even though we lost that series to the Spurs, it helped us out and it’s gonna help us out a lot next year.
SLAM: A lot of players say when they step out on the floor during the Playoffs for the first time, the atmosphere is unlike anything they’ve experienced. Was it like that for you?
DJ: Yeah, the first game, a lot of the veteran guys were like it’s gonna be different, it’s gonna be a lot more physical, the intensity of the game and the crowd is gonna be different, but they say you just have to experience it yourself. The first game when we were in Memphis, it was insane, I’d never experienced anything like that. But it was fun, once we got the game going, you kind of calm down and it just seems like a regular basketball game. It’s definitely a little bit more intense though.
SLAM: The Clippers obviously made a huge commitment to you when they matched the offer sheet from the Warriors before last season. Do you want to be a bigger part of the offense and game plan moving forward?
DJ: I’m working on my offense, so anything that I can do to be more involved is gonna be good. I know that Eric Bledsoe, Chris [Paul], Blake [Griffin] and those guys are definitely going to look for me. And with us adding more offensive threats, it’s gonna be easier for me to get looks. So if I just keep working on my game and knock down my free throws, I’m gonna get a lot of open looks.
SLAM: You said you’re working on your offense. What did you want to add to your game?
DJ: Just a go-to move and a counter in the post and a little 15-foot jump shot. Just when I get the ball, if I’m open, I’ll take the shot. If I’m working at it and just keep getting reps, I’ll feel confident shooting the ball.
SLAM: You’re known for your defense. Do you have any personal goals, like Defensive Player of the Year?
DJ: Yeah, that’s definitely a goal of mine. I just don’t want to win that award one time, I want to win it multiple times. That’s definitely one of my goals though.
SLAM: How tough is to be watching and not playing right now?
DJ: Yeah it’s tough [laughs]. But it’s fun, just to see the guys out here playing and seeing the talent that we could possibly have on our team next year is also good to come out here and watch.
SLAM: You’re here supporting your teammates. Do you feel like there has been a big improvement in chemistry since your rookie season?
DJ: Oh yeah, definitely. Since my first year, I think it’s only been me on the team. But then it was Blake, so I think I’m the longest Clipper that’s been there. If we all get together and keep jelling and learn each other’s games, then the sky’s the limit for our team.