During his first four years in the NBA, DeAndre Jordan’s offensive game could hardly be called an “offensive game.”
If you can find a play from any game in his first four years where he faces up or makes a move on his defender, please let me know. If there’s video evidence, I would absolutely love to see it because I swear it never happened.
Then, his fifth year came around.
About a week ago, I wrote about how there was nothing more important to the Clippers’ success than the development of DeAndre Jordan’s game. After watching how well he has played the last two games on the offensive side, I feel like that statement is definitely holding true so far.
Jordan used to shy away from the ball on offense, seemingly trying to hide behind defenders at times. But this year, you talk about flipping a switch… nobody personifies that better than DeAndre Jordan.
His offensive improvement was first evident in the preseason, where in his first game, he worked hard for post position, demanded the ball and showcased some nice looking jump hooks with his non-dominant right hand.
My first reaction was similar to Ice Cube and Chris Tucker’s in this scene from the movie “Friday.”
DeAndre Jordan? Calling for the ball? Making post moves? And making those shots? Yeah right. And Grizzly Adams had a beard.
But no, it was true. Grizzly Adams did indeed have a beard… and apparently DeAndre Jordan did indeed have a successful post move or two. Jordan had always been a high-percentage shooter, but that’s because legitimately 95 percent (and that number may honestly be too low) of his made buckets were via the dunk variety.
But now, through the first five games of the season, Jordan can actually say he has some semblance of an offensive arsenal.
He’s shown some impressive ambidexterity with his left and right-handed jump hooks, has improved his power dribble before he goes up strong and is now wisely utilizing up-fakes in moments where in previous seasons, he’d get his shot blocked or have it heavily contested by going up as soon as he could.
Another thing I’ve noticed where Jordan has improved even over the course of five games is that he has done a better job of holding the ball up high when he’s in possession. In the first game of the season, Jordan brought the ball down to waist level a few times, allowing some Golden State Warriors players to strip him of the ball and get out in transition (he’d have a whopping 9 turnovers in the opener). But in the Clippers’ last two games against San Antonio and Portland, Jordan has kept the ball elevated to where guards are unable to strip him, resulting in only two turnovers combined in those games.
If Jordan keeps this up, he won’t be the only benefactor of his newfound offensive game. Blake Griffin will see less double-teams because defenses won’t be allowed to cheat off of Jordan. That in turn will lead to more kick-out threes, because defenses won’t be able to sag off of Jordan or Griffin on the interior.
The Clippers are dangerous enough as it is. But Jordan’s development offensively could catapult the team to heights that fans of the Clippers would never have dreamed to be possible.
These tweet from the NBA Guru sums up my sentiments quite well:
Tonight, aside from excellent bench play (45 bench points, 25 of them from Jamal Crawford in his return to Portland), the Clippers had three guys score 20 or more points. Blake Griffin was not one of them, but DeAndre Jordan was.
Do you know how many 20-point games DeAndre Jordan had in last year’s 66-game season?
He’s had two such games in a 28-hour span. And that’s not by coincidence.
Jordan is reaping the benefits of hard offseason work… and oh, how that must feel for him.
And if he keeps this up… oh, how that must make the rest of the Western Conference feel.