Q&A: DeAndre Jordan discusses defense, free agency, health


Following last night’s dominating 16 point, 15 rebound performance by DeAndre Jordan against the Detroit Pistons, I had a chance toto speak with the Clippers starting center on topics ranging from Los Angeles’ inconsistent play up to this point in the season, his impending free agency and how he maintains his health on the court.

TM: Last night, you and Andre Drummond put on a show. There aren’t many in the league as starters, but what’s it like to play against a center who’s just as athletic, if not more, than you?

DAJ: We definitely have had some battles and will have some battles as long as we stay in this league and remain healthy as big guys. Dre is somebody that you have to really focus in on because he’s just as fast as you are, just as strong, and he’s just as athletic as your are, so you have to really be focused and key in on him. He’s definitely somebody that we focus on.

After last night’s game, the Clippers 17-7 and a 5th in the West, yet something feels off in comparison to last years team. Do you all feel the same way about you all’s start?

Every team is gonna go through their own ordeals and whatnot and we have to just be become a better ball club. Everybody’s taking steps to become better and we need to take those steps too. It’s a long season, it’s 82 games. We’ve only played not even close to half to that, so we don’t want to hit our stride too early, but we’re definitely taking more steps to become a better team offensively and defensively to be a better unit.

One area that’s drawn attention is the teams inconsistencies on defense. Are these early season issues incorporating Jordan Farmar, Spencer Hawes, etc. into the system and have you all put a bigger emphasis on it?

We know that playing defense and rebounding is something that’s gonna win championships and help us contend for championships for years to come, but everybody we have on our team besides C.J. Wilcox, they’re pretty much veteran guys in this league who know how to play, know how to win, and guys who have bought into Doc’s system. Like I said, we just need to keep getting better and try to hold that defensive intensity and focus for 48 minutes as much as we can to go from being a good team to a great team.

Dec 10, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks against Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, everyone said you needed to take the next step as a defender. After a year under Doc Rivers you’ve done that. What’s next on your list of things to improve on to take another leap as a player?

Becoming an even better defender, a better rebounder, a better shot blocker for our team. When I get the ball down in the post, just to be confident. My teammates are confident and comfortable giving me the ball down there, so it’s not something that I worry about. But everybody is different. We have scorers. We have passers. We have guys that’ll take charges. You need all those things to be a championship team and I know what my role is and I know what I’m good at and I know what’s gonna help us win games for our team and I’ve bought into my role and I’ve embraced it. But like I said, everybody’s different and you have to make sacrifices if you want to be able to win.

Is there an added sense of pressure to perform in a contract year?

Naw, I don’t think so. I think once you put that pressure on yourself, that’s when you don’t perform. I’m not really thinking about it. Whenever that bridge does come I’ll cross it. I’ve been a Clipper for seven years so this definitely feels like home, but at this point in time, I’m not thinking about my contract or anything like that. I’m thinking about us winning as many games as we can and contending for a championship.

Earlier this year in April you partnered with McDavid USA. How have they helped avoid injury on the floor?

I wear ankle sleeves. They have a McDavid ankle sleeve. It’s a 51/15 and it’s more of an elastic brace sleeve. It definitely keeps you stable out there and confident because me being 6’11” and doing as much running and cutting and jumping as I do, you want to feel comfortable and protected whenever you do land or whenever you do … do slide out there, so with my ankle sleeve on I definitely feel protected and confident when I’m out there on the floor.