Los Angeles Lakers: Why DeAndre Jordan will be unhappy next season

DeAndre Jordan is currently under the impression that he will get more consistent playing time with the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Jordan told Los Angeles media members, on September 8th, that he wanted to depart from Brooklyn because he was looking for a chance to compete every night.

Jordan’s comments come after he didn’t play a single minute for the Brooklyn Nets in the postseason. Unfortunately for Jordan, he will likely have the same experience with the Lakers this season, as he doesn’t have the skills required to thrive as a center in the team’s offensive system.

Let’s take a look at why DeAndre Jordan is unlikely to get more playing time with the Los Angeles Lakers next season than he did with the Brooklyn Nets.

Los Angeles often has their centers off the ball as Javale McGee and backup center Dwight Howard, spending at least 27 percent of their possessions as cutters, as they averaged 2 and 1.8 per game, respectively.

The center usage made it harder for them to generate offense as Los Angeles relied on post-up. The team was second in post-up possessions averaging 8.8 per game. They made 48.2 percent of their field goals in the post on 6.3 shots per game. They averaged 8 points per game in the post.

Most of the team’s post-production came from Anthony Davis, who averaged 4.6 points per game. Despite Davis’ production, he only 44.6 percent from the field on 3.6 attempts per game.

Davis’ ok field goal percentage was related to not having a shooting big man next to him. For instance, JaVale McGee stood near the free-throw line, on the right side of the court, during the first quarter of a road game against the LA Clippers.

McGee remained there as Davis had the ball on the left block with his back to the basket. Davis proceeded to face up because he wanted to blow by Patrick Patterson. As Davis headed towards the basket, Montrezl Harrell came over to help on him forcing Davis to take a heavily contested layup.

The Lakers’ decision to have these players off the ball made life harder for Davis as these players weren’t known as floor spacers. McGee and Howard had made less than 20 percent of their threes up to that point in their career. Consequently, opposing teams felt like they weren’t a threat off the ball.

McGee and Howard’s inability to keep defenders close to them contributed to Davis attempting 9.1 contested shots per game. The lack of spacing led to them shooting 48.6 percent from the field on 39.6 shots per game. The team averaged 51.3 points per game with those pairings on the court.

The inability to space the floor led to McGee and Howard not playing for a significant period during the playoffs. McGee missed the entire 2020 NBAFinals vs. the Heat. On the other hand, Howard missed the final three games in the first round against the Rockets.

Unfortunately, Jordan faces the same issue as he has made one three in his entire career. Consequently, opposing teams will leave him wide open, allowing them to have a help defender available at all times to help whoever has the ball.

The team would have been better off going after a center or wing who can shoot the ball because that would have lowered the likelihood that the opposing team could have a help defender available during all possessions.

For instance, the team had Marc Gasol as their starting center for most of last season. Gasol had converted 37 percent of his threes since 2016 on 3.5 attempts. Gasol’s ability to make threes allow the team to use him as a spot-up shooter averaging 1.6 possessions per game, 30.6 percent of his total possessions.

Gasol’s time in the spot-up role was 27.4 percent higher than the previous starter McGee’s, who averaged 0.2 per game. Gasol’s skill set led to Davis seeing a reduction in his contested shots averaging 8.8 per game. Consequently, Davis was more efficient in the post-shooting, 50.4 percent on 3.9 attempts per game.

He averaged 4.7 points in the post. More importantly, the team performed well on the court, shooting 50.4 percent on 28 shots per game. Davis and Gasol’s lineups averaged 37.5 points in 15.7 minutes per game.

Therefore, the team is likely to take Jordan off the floor after the early portion of the season once they see that the team is taking more contested shots. The team will probably give Jordan’s minutes to a player like Trevor Ariza.

Ariza has plenty of experience in the spot-up role as it has accounted for 39.1 percent of the possessions averaging 4.2 per game. Ariza has been inefficient in the role shooting 37.6 percent on 3.7 attempts per game. Despite Ariza’s inefficiency, he is still a better option than Jordan.

In conclusion, Jordan’s inability to shoot the basketball will lead to him having the same experience as in Brooklyn.