Where is DeAndre Jordan in the NBA Center Discussion?


Last season, I was sure DeAndre Jordan was going to have a breakout season with unbelievable rebound and blocked shot numbers. This thought process had me reach for him in the fifth round of my fantasy basketball league.

He scored 7.4 points per game (.3 higher than 2010-11), grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game (.6 higher) and blocked two shots per game (.2 higher). The only statistic even close to being called a breakout performance was he improved his free-throw shooting from 45% to 52%. I would hardly call barely .500 from the charity stripe something spectacular.

With the stats as proof, my thought process was off — to say the least.

However, Jordan is still young and could have a monster year during any season. With that said, I’ll probably do it again this year if given the chance, which I’m sure I will be.

The upcoming season is only his fifth season. He is young, can run the court, has exceptional athleticism, is showing improved knowledge for the fundamentals of the game and by the way, he plays with one of the best point guards in the league — Chris Paul. If Paul made Tyson Chandler look like an offensive minded center with the New Orleans Hornets, the sky is the limit for Jordan.

The question is, when will he mentally get his game to the level of his God given athletic gifts? Every Clipper fan is screaming this for the 2012-13 NBA season.

For all of his highlight dunks and blocks, Jordan takes plays off mentally. One minute he looks like he could be a top five center and the next he looks like he went to the Shawn Bradley school of basketball. I hope Bradley doesn’t have a school, please, tell me he doesn’t.

He gets frustrated to easy, looks lost on offensive plays, doesn’t seem to know how to get open for a beautiful dime from Chris Paul unless it’s an alley-opp and is out of position for rebounds, even though he is 6-foot 11-inches and 250 pounds of muscle. Sure, these flaws are not shown on every possession, offensively or defensively, but they show their ugly face enough to be recognized.

Jordan desperately needs to take this season as an opportunity to show he deserves to be mentioned with other NBA All-Star centers.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind he could be mentioned with Al Horford, Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol. Do I think he is now, no way, he’s in a tier or two underneath them. But could he be before his career is over, definitely.

Right now I would probably put Jordan right outside of the top 15 behind the likes of (In no order except for by tier):

Tier A: Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Greg Monroe and Marc Gasol

Tier B: DeMarcus Cousins, Roy Hibbert, Al Horford, Marcin Gortat, David Lee

Tier C: Nene, Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Andrew Bogut (only because of injury, should be higher), Brook Lopez (same as Bogut)

Tier D: DeAndre Jordan, Channing Frye, Chris Kaman, JaVale McGee, Spencer Hawes

Like I mentioned before, there is no doubt Jordan can move up the ranks. I can easily see him at the top of tier B or at the bottom of A by the end of this season or by the end of the next. He simply has to take 2 (mind) + 2 (physical ability) to = 4 (a complete NBA center).