L.A. Clippers: 8 Current NBA Big Men DeAndre Jordan Should Model His Game After
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For a second-round draft pick, DeAndre Jordan has turned out pretty well for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Proof of his immense value came last offseason, when the Clips matched a four-year, $43 million offer from the Golden State Warriors to keep Jordan in L.A.
The athletic big man got off to a hot start in 2012, seeming determined to justify his substantial pay raise. While Jordan had the best season of his young career, by the end of the year, he had cooled off considerably, losing major minutes to reserves Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans in the playoffs and riding the bench during crunch time.
Though Jordan has slowly improved over his four seasons in the pros, his disappointing finish to the 2012 campaign has some calling the Clippers' long-term commitment to Jordan in question. The team's starting center has yet to develop any offensive skills other than the ability to finish lobs and is a liability at the free-throw line.
When your second-highest-paid player can't be trusted on the floor during crunch time, there's clearly something missing from his game.
Here are eight current NBA big men Jordan should take some pointers from.
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DeAndre Jordan had a front-row seat for the Reggie Evans Experience during the fourth quarter of playoff games. And seeing how Reggie plays every day in practice should give Jordan a clue as well.
As an offensively challenged big, you have to help your team in other ways. Evans goes after every rebound and loose ball, ranking third in the NBA in total rebound rate last season.
Evans also gets after it defensively, relishing the challenge of trying to stop the Zach Randolphs of the world one-on-one.
These are things Jordan can easily incorporate into his game. Just as long as he doesn't pick this up as a habit as well.
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Omer Asik can't do much on offense, but he has established himself as one of the best defensive centers in the game despite limited minutes.
Blessed with more athleticism than Asik, DeAndre Jordan should be able to use his size and mobility to effectively defend pick-and-rolls and be in the proper help position on every defensive possession.
Over the past few seasons, Nick Collison has developed a reputation for always being in the right place at the right time. As a cerebral big man, Collison is always making the correct basketball play at any given moment.
Despite not being able to do much with the ball, and even lacking the size and athleticism to put up eye-catching rebound and block totals, Collison still makes a huge positive impact for his team.
In 2012, the Thunder were 7.2 points per 100 possessions better with Collison on the floor.
If DeAndre Jordan can increase his basketball IQ, he can make an impact without showing up on the stat sheet.
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There's no need for DeAndre Jordan to emulate Anderson Varejao's hairdo, but he can take some tips from the Brazilian's game.
Varejao is all energy, all the time. He rebounds, runs the floor hard, plays exceptional defense and takes charges (yes, he's as floppy as his hair.).
Defense and rebounding are two things that the Clippers need out of Jordan. Varejao is a good example of how to produce in those two areas.
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Samuel Dalembert is a very good rebounder and shot-blocker.
While DeAndre Jordan can match his skills in those two categories, Dalembert provides a little something at the offensive end as well.
Jordan doesn't shoot outside the paint, but if he can add even a few feet of range to his game, it will make him a much better all-around player.
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Kendrick Perkins provides another good template for DeAndre Jordan. Perkins also lacks offensive talent, but he makes up for it with his defense and intensity.
Perkins knows his role and sticks to it.
He loves the challenge of guarding the other team's best post player, sets bone-crushing screens to free up his teammates and brings a tough physical presence to the court.
The way Perkins approaches the game should be a lesson for Jordan. DeAndre has to have the mentality that he will do whatever it takes for his team to win and should strive to become a defensive leader.
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This is probably the most obvious comparison on the list. JaVale McGee is a similarly athletic shot-blocking force with limited offensive game.
Unlike DeAndre Jordan, however, McGee has made strides offensively over the past couple of seasons.
While he's still not a go-to option on the block, he has nights when he can spring for 20 points and provide his team with another scoring option.
With such similar playing styles and being drafted in the same year, Jordan will always be compared to McGee. If he wants to have the better career, Jordan needs to start making improvements at the offensive end to complement his elite shot-blocking ability.
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If there's just one guy that DeAndre Jordan should model his game after, it's Tyson Chandler.
Chandler came into the league with a game resembling Jordan's. He was long and athletic but lacked offensive punch. What Chandler has done since to improve his game is simply amazing.
After bouncing around the league for several years, Chandler finally made his impact felt with the Mavericks in 2011, vaulting a traditionally inept defense into the upper echelons of the league.
Through his defensive leadership, Chandler became the second most important player on a championship team.
In 2012, Chandler worked his defensive magic once again in New York, turning an anemic Knicks defense into a respectable unit. As a result, Chandler was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.
Jordan should aspire to be the defensive anchor that Chandler is. The Clippers could use a lot of improvement on defense, and if Jordan develops into an elite paint protector and pick-and-roll stopper, it may be just what the Clips need to make a run at a championship.