DeAndre Jordan wants a bigger role on offense


DeAndre Jordan is a man with many wants this off-season.

A max contract? Likely to happen after a career-best season where the former second round pick averaged 11.5 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, posted a PER of 21.0, finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting, and was named to All-Defensive 1st Team and All-NBA 3rd team, both career firsts.

A long-term deal? Also likely — at age 26, teams will bet on Jordan reaching his defensive peak during his upcoming contract.

A bigger role on offense? It’s laugh worthy reading about it, but according to Chris Broussard (and many others for that matter), Jordan wants exactly that as he prepares to be an unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career.

"Sources, though, told ESPN that Jordan wants a bigger role in the offense and is tired of being a third wheel behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with the team."

Regardless of what Charles Barkley tries to tell you, DeAndre Jordan is not a bad offensive player. Omer Asik is a bad offensive player. Reggie Evans and Kendrick Perkins, aside from their excellent screen-setting, are bad offensive player. Jordan? He’s limited, not bad.

Gone are the days where starting centers had to average 18 points to be acknowledged as good offensive players. In a pick-and-roll heavy offense with space to operate, Jordan’s ability to make the defense react on rolls (opening things up for surrounding shooters) combined with his ability to finish above the rim puts him in a space far from the Perkins’ and Asik’s of the NBA — allowing offensive rating to partially tell the story, the Clippers were 15.5 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Jordan on the floor than off.

Via Eye on Basketball, here is how Jordan performed on offense this past season per stats gathered from Synergy Sports:

"Here’s a look at the top offensive sets that Jordan was most involved in with the Clippers last season (from most to least), and his percentile rank in points per possession among players involved in such sets.Put backs: 57th percentileCut: 88th percentilePick-and-Roll Man: 95th percentileTransition: 95th percentilePost-up: 32nd percentile"

What do those numbers tell us? When Jordan is benefitting from playmaking, he’s one of the best in the league, hence his 71% mark from the field last year, the second best all time behind Wilt Chamberlain. But when he’s asked to get a bucket himself, he’s either marginal (put backs) or awful (post-up) and more of the marginal/awful attempts equates to more of DeAndre Jordan at the free-throw line and we know how that plays out majority times.

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  • Looking deeper into the matter and Jordan’s quest for a larger role, this could mean one of two things: 1) he wants a role where he’s allowed to expand his game or 2) he wants a role where what he’s great at, he’s allowed to do it more. Unless Jordan is crazier than I’ve ever believed him to be, his want for a larger role is the latter option instead of the former. The latter option was shown this season when Blake Griffin went down with injury. The lead pick man during that 15-game span, Jordan posted the best numbers of his career, averaging 17.3 points and 18.5 rebounds.

    Then there’s what may be the most important factor when judging Jordan’s peak as a no.2 player in anyone’s offense: how much better — or in this case, worse — is Jordan without Chris Paul and J.J. Redick surrounding him. Paul is obvious: the best pick-and-roll guard in the NBA, he’s made life easier for his surrounding bigs throughout his career, namely Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, David West, and Emeka Okafor. Where Redick comes into the picture is the attention he draws coming off of Jordan’s screens. The bigger threat offensively to defenses, that attentions often leaves Jordan open to operate in clean space around or above the rim. Not many teams in the NBA have a guard-wing combo that could do for Jordan what Paul-Redick did. John WallBradley Beal and Stephen CurryKlay Thompson come to mind. Maybe Jeff TeagueKyle Korver in Atlanta, but neither of the three mentioned teams are in the running with Jordan. The Knicks? Their frontcourt is TBA. The Mavericks? Same, though Parsons has proven to be a solid pick-and-roll player. The Lakers? D’Angelo Russell is a nice prospect but is nowhere near a Chris Paul-level guard.

    If things continue as previously constructed, Jordan’s want for a bigger role won’t be fulfilled in Los Angeles and he’ll continue as fourth/fifth in the offensive pecking order behind Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick — and lower once you factor in Lance Stephenson, Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and a possible Paul Pierce signing.

    All-in-all, this comes down to Jordan’s ego, which is natural. One of the best basketball players in the WORLD, he believes he’s worthy of a bigger role on that end. If Jordan signs elsewhere, we may get a chance to see if he can fulfill said role.

    Until then, TBD.

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