Regular Season: 82 games, 82 starts, 10.4 points (67 FG%, 42 FT%), 13.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.5 blocks, 18.2 PER, 11.1 Win Shares
Playoffs: 13 games, 13 starts, 9.6 points (73 FG%, 43 FT%), 12.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.5 blocks, 16.5 PER, 1.2 Win Shares
It was expected that newly appointed head coach Doc Rivers would push DeAndre Jordan and expunge more talent out of his 6-foot-11, 265 pound frame. Consideration for Defensive Player of the Year proves Rivers’ confidence in Jordan was not misplaced.
Upon his arrival and their initial meeting, Rivers had a clear plan for Jordan. He handed him a list of players to study: The great Bill Russell, Tyson Chandler, Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace. “I told him all those guys had rings,” said Rivers. Jordan studied and thrived. “Doc really made me see that’s how I would make my mark,’ recalls Jordan.
On the season, Jordan averaged 10.4 points and 7.9 rebounds. He had four games with 20 plus points and 31 games with 15 plus rebounds including seven games with at least 20 boards. Quite an improvement from his 2012-13 campaign, and a night and day difference after rarely seeing the fourth quarter under former head coach Vinny Del Negro.
Jordan played in every game of the season, and after guard Andre Miller collected a few DNP’s in his last few days with the Denver Nuggets, he’s now the NBA Ironman, having played a league high 240 consecutive regular-season games. Despite Rivers lobbying for Jordan to win Defensive Player of the Year, he finished third in voting with 121 points from eight first-place votes. His timing on blocks and rebounding was the most visible upgrade to Jordan’s game
As Rivers has never been coined as a big-man coach, the upgraded role to defensive captain in addition to the extra vote of confidence from the coaching staff and his teammates played a big part in boosting his game.
On the last year of his contract, Jordan will be playing at an optimum pace as most players give their greatest effort in a contract year. He’ll try to live up to that $11.5 million payday in the hopes to receive an extension of the same size. If he can improve his free throw shooting to 50 percent at the least, that’ll be a big help for the Clippers, and a large step for Jordan.
Taking ownership of the defensive end has been the biggest positive for Jordan as he’s a naturally gifted defender. It’s transformed his attitude, and made him a central piece of the Clippers success. Cleaning the defensive glass, winning the Clippers more possessions from offensive boards, finishing put back attempts and hitting the occasional free throw. Jordan will also need to focus on his hands, as he has the tendency to fumble the ball out of bounds in traffic. Simply put, Jordan will need to keep doing the things that granted him greater notoriety in the 2013/14 season.
He’s by far the most athletic center in the league, and keeping the opposition out of the Clippers paint will be a huge piece in their future success.