Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) reacts to a dunk in the first quarter in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan Controlling The Paint

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Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) defends a shot by Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first half in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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.

His play inspired Doc Rivers to shock the world when he compared Jordan to the legendary Bill Russell in an article on NBA.com earlier in the year.

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.

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