The LA Clippers have been on a losing streak and fans have noticed something. Is DeAndre Jordan’s head still in it?
The LA Clippers’ 111-120 loss Friday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the 103-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans marked their fourth and fifth straight losses. The losses against OKC and New Orleans come with an asterisk as the Clippers were missing three of their five starters due to injuries. On Friday, OKC was also missing one of their starters, center Steven Adams, forcing them to start rookie Dakari Johnson. This made Clippers fans eyes widen imagining the rebounding and low-post scoring clinic DeAndre Jordan would be putting on. Jordan ended the game with 12 rebounds and just 9 points in 27 minutes of play. He also (tied with Wesley Johnson) posted a team low in the plus/minus category with -18.
The biggest concern from Jordan isn’t his stats or numbers so far this season; It appears to be his body language and effort level. Looking at his numbers, he is hitting his career scoring average this season with 9 points a game. In fact, he has improved a lot of his stats; his total rebounding, free throw percentage, and player efficiency rating numbers are all on the rise this year.
So how is it that he’s allowing himself to get handled by much smaller players like Carmelo Anthony or watching opponents just glide by and score in the paint? Why isn’t he closing out on bigs that can shoot like DeMarcus Cousins? Why is he walking to the bench after picking up a foul, down by double digits, and laughing as if he doesn’t care?
Lack of CP3?
Does he miss Chris? If anyone’s life was made easier by having Chris Paul on the Clippers, it was DeAndre Jordan. The Paul/Jordan tandem was a huge part of “Lob City”; Chris Paul, being on the best assist guards in the league gave Jordan his fair share of touches and lobs. In Paul’s last two seasons in LA, Jordan led the league in field goal percentage. That number has seen a dip this year going from 71.5% last season to 60.6% this season. His chemistry with Beverley will have to improve to see DJ return to glory. Just watch this play in San Antonio.
Are trade rumors messing with him?
Is he unhappy with the trade rumors? Jordan, mentioned in trade rumors before, was almost dealt this summer as reported by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
"The Clippers have explored DeAndre Jordan trades, though perhaps only one proposal — a deal which would have sent Jordan to Houston at last season’s trade deadline for Clint Capela, picks and players — ever gained semiserious traction, league sources say."
Surely, no player is happy with hearing their names in trade talks, and perhaps this has diminished Jordan’s confidence. However, his lack of energy has diminished his value to the team and on the trade market.
Is it his contract extension? In his third year of his current contract, Jordan has the ability to opt out of his final year this summer and become an unrestricted free agent. Jordan has had talks with the Clippers about an extension, but those talks have stalled per Zach Lowe of ESPN.
"“If they want me, yeah, I’d love to be here,” Jordan says. “But I don’t have an extension, do I? So we’ll see.”"
According to LA Times’ Brad Turner, Jordan is negotiating without an agent. This could perhaps be the reason for the stall. Maybe the Clippers aren’t comfortable using cap space on two big men while the league goes smaller. Either way, it’s a change from 2015 when Jordan was belle of the free agency ball.
Whether its trade talks, extensions, or mourning the loss of a quality lob, DeAndre Jordan needs to step up the effort if the Clippers are going to snap losing this streak and be a playoff-bound team.