DeAndre Jordan Is on a Quest for League-Wide Respect

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

DeAndre Jordan isn't satisfied with just being the Los Angeles Clippers' third wheel. He wants some recognition. According to ESPN.com's Ramon Shelburne, Jordan said he doesn't "want to go to All-Star [Weekend] to be like a dunk contest guy."

He wants to be an All-Star.

Per Shelburne, Jordan also addressed accruing the third-most votes for Defensive Player of the Year, saying, "Oh, yeah. But like I said, I'm used to it. Ask my peers what they think? Ask my coach what he thinks?"

Head coach Doc Rivers was already asked what he thought, and his response was unsurprising: 

Even among disinterested parties, Jordan made a pretty strong case for DPOY. He led the league with 13.6 rebounds per game and ranked third league-wide with 2.5 blocks per game. The tale of the tape yields similar conclusions—Jordan covers a lot of ground and keeps the rim well-protected.

While elite accolades continue to elude Jordan, the expectations are certainly there. Those expectations started last summer with Rivers according to the Los Angeles Times' Stephen Bailey:

Rivers said he’s never coached a player with the explosiveness of Jordan, who’s averaged 1.5 blocks a game over his five NBA seasons. Rivers thinks he’s so talented, he should be next season’s defensive player of the year.

'One hundred percent, I think that’s what he will be,' Rivers said. 'When other teams show up, they should look at him and say, ‘This is not going to be a fun night.’'

One of the things perceptually holding Jordan back is that he plays with two exceptional players in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. There's only so much attention to go around, especially on a roster that's deep with talent like Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick.

There's still a good chance Jordan could earn future consideration either as an All-Star or DPOY. He should continue to dominate the boards and defensive stats on account of his size and top-shelf athleticism.

He'll also continue to play big minutes (35 per game during the regular season), because—if for no other reason—the Clippers don't have many other options at the center spot, much less options who'd seriously compete with Jordan for playing time.

The All-Star bid will be somewhat difficult to secure, though. Though he averaged an efficient double-double this season, so much of the league's attention has shifted away from centers in general. All-Star recognition also tends to reward higher-scoring players. Jordan averaged just 10.4 points per game this season.

Then again, missing out on top honors may be the best thing to happen to Jordan. Given their importance in his eyes, he should come out better than ever next season. 

Jordan's Clippers are currently tied with the Golden State Warriors at one game apiece in the first round. 

Through the first two games, Jordan is averaging 11 points, 11.5 rebounds and five blocks. If he keeps up that pace in the postseason, the respect he so desires will follow in fairly short order.

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