Doc Rivers: Keeping Jordan And Clippers’ Core Is A Priority


May 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers walks off the court after game seven of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Clippers 113-100 to win the series 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers are in the recovery stage of getting over the toughest kind of loss a team can take in the playoffs — blowing a 3-1 series lead and being eliminated. Now, they’re faced with the decisions that need to be made in the offseason to take them to another level.

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They need to address the weakness of their bench, who — even at their best — are still streaky, and proved in the playoffs how they can’t always be relied on. With the potential, albeit unlikely, loss of DeAndre Jordan this summer, Doc Rivers has said he’s made it his priority to keep the new NBA All-Defensive first team member in Los Angeles. That could mean giving Jordan a five-year max deal of around $115. But after leading the league in rebounding for two consecutive years and establishing himself as an elite defensive player, he’s worthy of such a pay day.

The only hindrance as to why Jordan shouldn’t receive so much money is because he’s still limited offensively. He lacks any threat as a post-up player, shot just 39.7 percent from the free throw line and effectively dunked his way to a 71 percent shooting mark for the year. However, sheer athleticism and defense is what Jordan is all about.

Forget the fact that 53.2 percent of his shot attempts this year were dunks, because he’s still led the league in field goal percentage for the last three seasons. He may lack skill as a scorer, but at least he’s efficient. And as a defender, there aren’t too many big men better than he is right now.

There’s more to the Clippers’ offseason than just keeping Jordan around, though. Doc Rivers has said that keeping their core together is key.

Earlier this week, Rivers made the following comments (per Rowan Kavner of

"“We were a quarter away from the Western Finals. So, I don’t think we need to blow this thing up. We don’t need to do a lot. We don’t need to go and get a max player, except for the one we have.There’s going to be a lot of teams coming after him that have money. There’s a lot of them that don’t, thank God. That helps us. He deserves the attention. He really does, he’s earned it. “"

Judging by his views on Jordan, it’s clear Doc Rivers believes that the Clippers are only some minor adjustments away from becoming a true contender. He knows how close they were to advancing to the Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, and he believes Jordan is a key part of that.

Doc Rivers also said how much he enjoys coaching DeAndre:

"“I look at this guy now, and he’s just a joy to be around. He’s a great guy to coach, he’s smart as heck and he’s just one of those guys as a coach you want next to you. So I couldn’t be happier for him. I love when players do what they should do and have the opportunity to make whatever they can make. I’m all for it.”"

Again, it’s obvious how much Doc Rivers wants Jordan to be a part of this team. And now that he’s been named to the All-NBA third team and All-Defensive first team, there’s no reason to dispute the praise that Rivers is giving him.

So, if the Clippers offer Jordan a max contract and are able to add a little more depth (in the form of another guard or back-up big), they’ll have all the pieces Doc Rivers wants in order for them to improve.

They already have the superstar duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a new max-player in Jordan. That’s a pretty good core to work around. And with the improvements that their All-NBA caliber center has made this year, the Clippers really should focus on keeping the pieces they have and adding complementary players to suit them.

As Doc said, there’s no need to blow this up.

Next: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan Named To All-NBA Teams