LA Clippers Mamba Mentality Challenge: DeAndre Jordan

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25: DeAndre Jordan
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25: DeAndre Jordan /

A few weeks ago, Kobe Bryant issued “Mamba Challenges” to various public personalities. Our staff felt the need to issue our own challenges to each LA Clippers player. Next up is DeAndre Jordan.

With the majority of last year’s squad somewhere else, it’s time for DeAndre Jordan to step up his leadership on the Clippers. He knows the organization just as well as anyone, but for most of his career he’s been an afterthought. It’s time for him to take charge and step into that leadership role alongside Blake Griffin.

Over the past few years, DJ has really established himself as one of the best centers in the NBA. His resume includes a multitude of achievements, including an All-NBA First Team nod (2016), two All-Defensive First Team awards (2015, 2016) and was selected to the 2017 All-Star roster.

The Challenge

DeAndre’s Mamba Mentality Challenge is to win Defensive Player of the Year.

DPOTY has almost always been a big man and is traditionally an award for big men to win. However, the past few years it’s gone to guys of other positions (Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green). It’s time for DJ to reclaim the award as a big man.

Competing with guys smaller than him will give him advantages, but the disadvantages will be more evident.

To win the award, DJ will have to up his intensity. A lot of what he does on this end goes unnoticed, so he’ll have to refine each of his skills in every aspect of defense.

One thing he’ll definitely have to improve upon is guarding the three point line. With the increased amount of long range shooters in the league, his hesitance to step out and lock down the perimeter is exposed. Working on this will truly make him an all around defensive threat and a real candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

The LA Clippers will need his contributions more than ever this season. In addition, he’s nearing the hump of his career as a 29-year-old, so it’s now or never.

Next: Mamba Mentality: Blake Griffin

Just for some general context, DJ has placed in the top 10 over the past few years in defensive win shares, defensive box plus/minus, defensive rating, defensive rebound percentage, blocks per game, defensive rebounds per game (via Basketball-Reference).

If DeAndre becomes DPOTY, he’ll be the first Clippers play to do so.