This isn’t much of a story, but I thought this was an interesting tidbit from ESPN’s Arash Markazi on DeAndre Jordan’s past chances to make the 2014-16 Team USA Roster:
DeAndre Jordan was considered for the 28-man pool after his development and summer with Team USA. They went with Andre Drummond instead.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 23, 2014
Of the twenty-plus players chosen to play for Team USA for the next two years, four were centers by the names of Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, Demarcus Cousins and Tyson Chandler. If it came down to Jordan versus either of Howard, Cousins or Chandler, there was no second-guessing. All three are superior players of DAJ despite his improvements under Doc Rivers tutelage.
As far as Jordan versus Drummond, they chose the player with the highest amount of upside. In regards to who is better between the two, it’s quite the toss-up though Drummond’s projected ceiling is much higher than Jordan’s at the moment. There is no guarantee that he’ll live up to what many expect him to become, something along the lines of what Dwight Howard was in his prime.
Defending the rim (according to SportsVU’s player tracking), Drummond is a bit better at defending the rim than Jordan (Drummond’s oppFG% at the rim is 48.1% compared to Jordan’s 51.5%). Jordan is the superior shot-blocker while the two are near-equal rebounders. Offensively, Jordan may be the better player, but that’s not saying much considering both are never go-to options on offense and majority of their baskets come on lobs, dunks and close baskets.
The odds are low that both players make the final roster. Everything you want from either Drummond or Jordan, you can get from Cousins/Chandler/Howard plus some.
All-in-all, this is a large step in Jordan’s player development. Another year under Vinny Del Negro and he wouldn’t have been mentioned for the team. Rivers’ teaching combined with the addition of extra playing time has done DeAndre wonders. His biggest struggles are still weaknesses, but the improvement is there and it’s something you can visibly see, not something you have to rely on stats to inform you of.
Jordan shouldn’t be low on himself for not making the roster. He’s young, uber-athletic and still improving. There will always be post-2016 where he can make the roster.