The Clippers have been playing extremely well recently, but are they paying too much to keep DeAndre Jordan?
DeAndre Jordan earned a four-year max deal worth an estimated $88 million dollars from the Los Angeles Clippers this past offseason. The organization gave the max to a guy who is an incredible rebounder and defender but is also very limited offensively.
Here’s a list of players and their current contracts compared to the seven-year pro.
Jordan’s contract is currently worth more than superstars whom other organizations are building their teams around, such as John Wall, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, etc. As to whether a player of Jordan’s caliber is someone a franchise can build their team on is questionable, let alone the money that the Clippers are paying him.
Another interesting thing to consider at is that eight-time, all-star point guard Chris Paul is going to make roughly $21.5 million this season, approximately $2 million more than the Clippers center. The Clippers are basically saying that they believe that Jordan is worth about as much as his all-star teammate.
Let’s take a look at what the former 35th pick of the 2008 NBA draft does for his team.
Jordan is an athletic freak of nature for his size. He will consistently be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year because of his elite shot blocking. He is also a relentless rebounder, which has allowed the Clippers to earn extra possessions and opportunities to run the floor. He’s fun to watch on the fast break because he runs the floor like a guard, allowing him to come up with some monster alley-oops.
Despite all of his athleticism, he’s no more than a liability on offense. He earns his buckets through easy putbacks and dunks that are orchestrated for him through other players. He’s also a notoriously bad free-throw shooter. When he’s on the floor, he’s usually hacked and is forced to make free-throws that he can’t make, forcing Doc Rivers to take him out of the game. When he’s off the floor, the Clippers don’t have an elite defender inside.
In his seven-year career, Jordan has managed to have two seasons in which he has averaged more than 10 points (currently averaging a career high 11.6). However, he also shoots an incredible 66.8 percent from the field on only 5.1 shot attempts. All of Jordan’s success comes from within the paint because he is incapable of shooting from mid-range. On the flip slide, he shoots a hideous 41.7% from the free-throw line.
Despite his inability to impact the game on the offensive end through his scoring, he currently holds a solid net rating of 10.0 this season. This means whenever Jordan is on the floor, the Clippers manage to score 10 more points per game. His offensive rating is inflated because he tends to be on the floor with Paul, J.J. Redick, and Blake Griffin. These players can either create opportunities for him to score, or they’re able to make shots themselves, which increases is offensive rating when he’s on the floor.
However, he does directly improve his offensive rating through his tenacity to pull down offensive boards (3.6 per game). Second possessions are an underrated stat in basketball and a reason as to why his team is fourth in points per game in the league at 105.0.
However, where the big man excels is on the defense and rebounding, his rebounding and block numbers have been excellent the past three seasons, as he’s averaged an elite 14 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He’s an absolute force mainly because of his athleticism. Jordan jumps higher than any other big man at his position and has a great sense of where the ball when he goes in for the boards. He stands as an intimidating force whenever opposing guards or bigs look to attack the paint. With Paul on the outside and Jordan on the inside, it becomes difficult for teams to plan exactly how to attack the Clippers defense.
An underrated reason as to why the Clippers decided to re-sign Jordan is because he is extremely durable. Prior to Jan. 13 against the Miami Heat, Jordan had played in an incredible 360 straight games. The only reason he was held out of that game was because of pneumonia.
It is rare to find a big man who does not find himself getting injured for extended periods of time due to lower body problems, such as ankle and knee injuries. In a league where athleticism and health is highly valued, Jordan manages to be dynamic on the floor without suffering major or nagging injuries.
The question is does the seven-year pro’s athletic and defensive qualities make up for his offensive liabilities enough to offer him a max contract? Nathan Grubel from Fansided explains the worth of Jordan nicely, stating, “When I think of a maximum-caliber talent, I envision a player who’s gifted offensively but can also get after it on defense and does everything he can to help his team win. Jordan can do two of those things well, but he’s not as well-rounded of a talent as I would like to see for my money’s worth.”
If the NBA wasn’t a league where spreading the floor to get open jump-shots and easy opportunities in the paint, Jordan’s contract may be worth it. However, his inability to make shots from outside the paint and a lack of post-moves is too much of a deficiency to justify a max contract.
The Clippers may have Griffin, who has shown the capability to shoot the mid-range jumper, but his game revolves around him attacking the paint with the threat of a stable jumper. When Griffin attacks, the paint gets becomes crowded, allowing defenders to collapse into the paint knowing that Jordan cannot shoot.
Los Angeles will continue to find regular season success with a front court of Griffin and Jordan, but the playoffs has proven time and time again that it hasn’t worked for them. Teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors have managed to lock down teams that can score in a variety of ways. With Jordan being one less thing to worry about, those teams could focus their efforts on guys like Redick, Paul, and Griffin. Who knows? The Clippers may be good enough to work through that kind of adversity, but there’s no doubt that they paid too much for a guy who cannot make an impact on the offensive end.
Edited by Jazmyn Brown.
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