Last season the Los Angeles Clippers' defense was painfully average. It was painful because of how well the offense played, only to see the defense give back the points they had just scored.
The defense is improved so far this season, but it needs to improve further—that starts with the guys who protect the paint.
Both players hold a defensive rating of 100 so far this season, which is an improved mark for both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but let’s break it down even further.
Griffin plays 63 percent of his team’s minutes at the power forward position. Surprisingly, he is doing a solid job against other power forwards, limiting them to a 15.5 PER, which is essentially the league average.
However, Griffin still needs to improve his defense overall. He gets lost in pick-and-roll situations and needs to do a better job of preventing his opponent from gaining good position on the block.
Blake also needs to focus on limiting his man to a PER below league average. His ability to do that combined with improving his rebounding will make him a very difficult two-way matchup.
Jordan, on the other hand, is expected to be a rim protector and solid defender. He has hardly lived up to either of those titles so far. His opponents at center are recording a PER of 17.8 against him, clearly not an acceptable rating for an alleged defensive center.
This is one of the reasons Jordan was unable to stay on the floor last year in late game situations and during the playoffs. His defense is not good enough to overcome his poor foul shooting and limited offensive game.
DeAndre really needs to perform better on defense, especially for the team’s sake. He is being paid handsomely and is expected to be a key defender in the Clippers' defensive system. Reducing the impact opposing centers have should be his top priority, and the PER against him needs to drop below 15.