No longer just a leaping giant, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers has become a terrifying rebounder and unmerciful gatekeeper of shots at the rim.
Like a disgruntled bouncer who won’t even let the pretty ladies into the club, Jordan is turning back even the most seductive of attempts by the Golden State Warriors. He has swatted 10 shots so far in the series and has changed countless others.
Jordan’s maturation on defense is a direct result of increased confidence in himself, playing time and his coach’s trust that he can play at a high level. Jordan averaged a career-high 35 minutes per game in the regular season and is already at 37.5 so far in the playoffs.
I genuinely see traits of Bill Russell. I didn’t say he was Bill Russell. I just think that’s a good thing. What do you see? You see block shots, he’s the (leading) rebounder in the league, he’s blocking everything that comes his way and he changes shots. That’s what Bill Russell does. So that’s been a good thing.
Jordan is minus a hand full of rings compared to Russell and isn’t even the best player on his team. The irking comparison will never stop raising eyebrows even if the Clippers win 10 championships down the road. Rivers took things too far to compliment a young guy who is still learning how to play the game the right way on both ends.
Thankfully the former Texas A&M standout has not let the lofty praise get to his head as he continues to focus on his overall improvement. In the meantime his development is enough to help the Clippers potentially oust the Warriors by series’ end. When you watch Jordan gallop up and down the court his immense size immediately sticks out against the smaller Golden State roster.
He picks his spots offensively primarily scoring on lobs and put-back dunks never trying to do to much despite a massive size advantage. Look out when this guy develops better footwork and a jumper out to 12 feet or so.
The Warriors have no answer for his superior athleticism and with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin consistently looking for him to posterize people, the skies are not safe if the ball is in the air and Jordan is on the court … on either end.