Comparing DeAndre Jordan to Other Notable 2nd Round Big Man Picks in NBA History
After a precocious start to his career pairing up in the paint alongside Blake Griffin, DJ has been slow to assert himself as an elite center.
Despite his major payday, Jordan never became the big man the Clippers had hoped for last season. While his rebounds per game increased from 7.2 to 8.3, his field goal percentage dropped from 68.6 to 63.2. His points per game improved marginally from 7.1 PPG to 7.4 PPG.
Nevertheless, Jordan was a second round pick, and dominant second round big men are hard to come by in this league. The Texas A&M product is nothing compared to Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum at this stage in his career, but DJ does have the potential to grow into a formidable low post force.
The second round label should not deter Jordan.
From Antonio Davis on the Pacers to Dennis Rodman on the Bulls and Pistons, some second round big men have found long-term success in the league. Jordan is only 24-years-old and could be a late bloomer.
Here is how DeAndre Jordan stacks up against other notable second round big men in NBA history.
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Draft History: 1964 New York Knicks, 2nd Round, 1st pick
Career Averages: 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 1.8 APG
Honors: NBA Champion (1970, 1973), NBA Finals MVP (1970, 1973), MVP (1970), All-Star (1965-71), NBA Rookie of the Year (1965), All-NBA First Team (1970), 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Inductee (1982)
Breakdown: One of the smoothest and most dominant big men in NBA history, Willis Reed wreaked havoc in the paint for the New York Knicks in the late '60s and early '70s.
A career full of accolades and success, Reed is perhaps best remembered for his heroics in the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. After sustaining a muscle tear in his right thigh during Game 5, Reed was forced to sit out Game 6 before limping out to start the all-or-nothing Game 7.
Reed's presence inspired the Knicks, as they knocked off the Lakers 113-99 to win the franchise's first NBA Championship.
Reed really is the gold standard for second round big men. Frankly, DeAndre Jordan's rate of development is incomparable to the success that the Knicks big man enjoyed early into his career.
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Draft History: 1986 Detroit Pistons, 2nd round, 3rd pick
Career Averages: 7.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.8 APG
Honors: NBA Champion (1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998), Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1991), All-Star (1990, 1992), All-NBA Third Team (1992, 1995), Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Inductee (2011)
Breakdown: One of the most physical and bruising big men to play the game, Dennis Rodman made a living knocking opponents to the deck and hounding down rebounds in his impressive 14-year NBA career. Despite being just 6'7", Rodman won the NBA's regular season rebounding title an incredible seven consecutive times between '92 and '98.
Rodman was a monster defensive player as well, capable of locking down guards on the perimeter and big men in the post. The eccentric Rodman found success with the Bad Boys Pistons, winning back-to-back championships in '89 and '90.
Rodman's game and style make it especially difficult to compare him to the development of the young DeAndre Jordan. Nevertheless, DJ does possess the type of NBA body necessary to be as physical as Rodman once was.
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Draft History: 1986 San Antonio Spurs, 2nd round, 9th pick
Career Averages: 11.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.9 APG
Honors: All-Star (1989, 1991), Most Improved Player (1988)
Duckworth's coming out party came during his sophomore campaign when he improved his scoring average from 5.4 PPG to 15.8 PPG and his rebounding average from 3.4 RPG to 7.8 RPG. By the time Duckworth was entering his fifth NBA season he had already established himself as an inside force in Portland.
Kevin Duckworth provides a solid comparison to DeAndre Jordan. While Duckworth was never exceptionally talented, he found a way to get it done.
His career marks of 11.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG are perfectly attainable for a player of the caliber of Jordan.
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Draft History: 1990 Indiana Pacers, 2nd round, 18th pick
Career Averages: 10.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 BPG
Honors: All-Star (2001)
Breakdown: One of the toughest players in the game, Antonio Davis was known for his physicality in the paint. In the Indiana Pacers epic playoff matchups against the New York Knicks in the 1990s, Davis played the role of enforcer against Knicks' stars John Starks and Patrick Ewing.
Davis bounced around teams in the league but always played the role of physical big man. His defense in the low post even earned him his lone All-Star appearance in 2001.
The Pacers big man was relatively mediocre until his fourth NBA season. He was a late bloomer and did not totally put the pieces together until his seventh year in the league.
Like Kevin Duckworth, DeAndre Jordan could put up similar career averages to those of Davis.
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Draft History: 2001 Detroit Pistons, 2nd round, 9th pick
Career Averages: 13.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.7 APG
Honors: NBA Champion (2004), All-Star (2007)
Breakdown: Mehmet Okur was among the most versatile big men in the game in his prime.
At 6'11" and 245 pounds, Okur had the size to hold his own in the post but really excelled in knocking down open jumpers on the perimeter. Although Okur earned a ring with the overachieving 2004 Detroit Pistons, his best seasons were on the Utah Jazz playing alongside Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Relative to DeAndre Jordan, Mehmet Okur's game provides quite the contrast. Whereas Okur found success around the basket through clever footwork and savvy play, Jordan's unrefined postgame limits him to power dunks and layups.
While Jordan might never enjoy the smooth stroke that Okur once had, mimicking some of the Turkish big man's footwork would yield significant dividends for LAC.
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Draft History: 2005 Phoenix Suns, 2nd round, 27th pick
Career Averages: 8.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.1 BPG
Featuring both a solid postgame and the range to knock down a mid-range jump shot, Gortat is coming off of his best NBA season in which he averaged 15.4 PPG and 10.0 RPG.
Gortat's larger role in the Valley of the Sun really gave him the opportunity to come to his own. The Polish Hammer's refined and thorough postgame should be studied by the Clippers' young center.
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Draft History: 2007 Los Angeles Lakers, 2nd round, 18th pick
Career Averages: 13.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.4 APG
Awards: All-Star (2012)
With a skill set eerily similar to that of his older brother, Gasol has some of the best court vision in the game for a big man, uses his body wisely to gobble up rebounds and is a beast in the high post.
In the Grizzlies first round slugfest against the Clippers last season, Gasol routinely lit up DeAndre Jordan, averaging 15.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 3.1 APG, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field.
Despite the contrast in size and athleticism, Gasol made a habit of making Jordan look foolish in the series. The seven games were humbling for Jordan, demonstrating some of his glaring deficiencies.
While both players have played just four seasons in the NBA, there is no question who the more complete center is.
What Is the Ceiling for DeAndre Jordan?
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Draft History: 2008 Los Angeles Clippers, 2nd round, 5th pick
Career Averages: 6.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 1.5 BPG
Breakdown: The onus is really on DeAndre Jordan to make the jump to elite status this season. During the summer, Jordan tightened up his postgame and worked on his woeful free-throw shooting. These offseason adjustments were necessary, but until DJ can find some consistency on a nightly basis, the Clippers will continue to have some trouble at the center position.
Compared to the aforementioned players, Jordan is still in a position to control his own destiny. Below is a table of the players organized by the player efficiency rating (PER) of his fourth NBA season.
Despite his drawbacks, Jordan finds himself right in the middle of these rankings, just behind Marcin Gortat and just above Dennis Rodman. While most would agree that Rodman was a better player than Jordan at this stage of his career, the numbers do indicate that DJ is at least doing something right.
Even with the rocky start to his career, it would be foolish to discount Jordan at this stage of his development. DJ is just 24-years-old, beginning to assert himself on offense and defense, and has the luxury of playing alongside the best pure point guard on the planet in Chris Paul.
Speculating can only go so far, but there really is no ceiling for Jordan in Lob City.