The Los Angeles Clippers might be in trouble.
In the stacked Western Conference, any loss of a big-time player could be the difference between qualifying for the playoffs and a disappointing finish as a bubble team. For the Clippers, they’re starting to edge into the bubble territory. The loss of DeAndre Jordan will be a big one.
Jordan was third in the “Defensive Player of the Year” award voting for the second season in a row and made his first All-NBA third team. Most importantly, he was their defensive and rebounding anchor as well as the crutch. Last season, the Clippers could not rebound well on a consistent basis. Take away his 15 rebounds from the team and it’s now in dire straits.
So, the surface area arguments for Jordan’s departure are simple:
- He wanted to be a bigger piece of a team’s overall plan — he’s only 26 years old and wants to be a bigger franchise piece.
- Hometown bias and less stress in a different basketball market. Dallas’ basketball could rival the Clippers’ own marketing reach.
- The demands of his commanding point guard, Chris Paul.
Of those reasons that we picked up from various rumor mills, only number one stands out. Jordan was an anchor on defense but sunk on offense. He didn’t shoot free-throws well and was often on the bench when the game was on the line out of necessity. It can all build against your confidence to watch the rest of your team finish a game you started. The endorsements from coach Doc Rivers were fine, but the effort to feature Jordan on other facets of his game were non-existent. The lack of Paul in a proposed ‘clear-the-air’ dinner didn’t help either. Nor did the absence of Clipper players at the team’s pitch meeting. So, there’s that.
As for Jordan’s pick of the Mavericks? It could not be a basketball decision because that would make him a joke. The Mavericks are not a playoff team at its current state. They replaced Tyson Chandler with a younger Tyson Chandler and subbed in Wesley Matthews for their best player, Monta Ellis. When Dirk Nowitski gave the reigns to Ellis and the team hummed to the tune of best offensive efficiency in the NBA, it made sense. There’s no Ellis. Hell, there’s no point guard to speak of. If you’re thinking that the inclusion of a non-shooting, defensive center and a good-shooting two-guard coming off a catastrophic surgery is an improvement, you’re in denial.
But, anyway, kudos to the Clippers and Jordan for this one.
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