2019 NBA Free Agents: DeAndre Jordan
New York Post
Like so many other players in the NBA signing contracts in recent years, DeAndre Jordan has made quite a bit of money for himself. The center out of Texas A&M signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015 for $87,616,050. He followed that up by signing a one-year deal worth $22,897,200 with the Dallas Mavericks — all of it guaranteed. Jordan went on to struggle to find his role on a disappointing Mavericks team, before getting traded midseason to the lowly New York Knicks.
The 6’11 big man averaged 10.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks on 63.4% shooting from the field in 25.9 minutes of play. The stat line represents a near mirror image of his career numbers, and it is a strong representative of what teams can expect to get out of Jordan.
Determining the value of a true center in the NBA is maybe the most difficult out of the five positions. The league as it stands now has undoubtedly crept towards “small ball” in recent years, and the big men have been slightly left out of that evolution. However, players like Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert are undoubted franchise type players — so at what value do we rank DeAndre Jordan?
Age: 30 (31 in July)
DeAndre Jordan was a premier shot blocker in the league for seven years until the 2017-18 season. However, he went from the 86th percentile in 2016-17 of percentage of opposing shot attempts blocked all the way down to the 45th percentile. He simply isn’t the dominant rim protector that he once was in his younger years. What he still does at a fantastic rate though is defensive rebound.
Jordan averaged 9.8 defensive rebounds a game in the 2018-19 season — good for fourth best in the league in the category. Cleaning the glass will always be a team need, and his ability to rebound on the defensive end is his greatest strength.
Jordan has never been an offensive juggernaut. What he has always done well though is catch lobs and finish around the rim at a high rate. Saying his greatest weakness is his limited offensive game would be dissatisfying and also fail to acknowledge the justified limitations Jordan has as a 6’11, 265 pound center.
To me, his greatest weakness as it stands right now, is his points per possession on the defensive end. Jordan is someone who needs to excel on defense to earn a spot on the court for any NBA team, yet in his time on the Knicks last season he ranked in the very worst percentile points allowed per 100 possessions played when he was on the court. When Jordan was on the court for the Knicks, the New York team allowed 8.3 more points per the 100 possessions than when he wasn’t.
To be fair to Jordan, in his games with the Mavericks he ranked in the 87th percentile in the stat — with the Mavericks giving up 4.5 fewer points per 100 possessions when DeAndre was on the floor. However, in 2017-18, he only ranked in the 28th percentile for the whole year in the stat. Jordan is not helping the team’s he plays for on the defensive end, and for a defensive center — that has to make it his greatest weakness.
Jordan is the type of player who is either motivated or demotivated by the team and system around him. His game elevates on a championship contending team and it falters on a lesser squad. Meaning right away that an ideal role for the big man is on a top four team in either conference.
The second parameter of ideality s one surrounded by playmakers. Jordan is never going to be the type of big you can throw the ball into the low post and watch him Hakeem someone, but he is incredible at knowing how to position himself to catch passes from elite playmakers.
Possible Landing Spots:
First off there is some chance he stays in New York. The Knicks offered to buy the Texas A&M product out earlier in the season, but he made it clear to the organization that he wanted to stay playing in Madison Square Garden. Pair that with the fact that the Knicks still have the chance to land some big time free agents, and Jordan could find himself in a very happy position for New York next season.
However, news also broke this past week that the Los Angeles Lakers were showing interest in Jordan. The LA team is apparently looking to add a big man to their roster, and they know that Jordan both wants to come back to the West Coast and that they can get him for relatively cheap. The Lakers also fit the ideal role for DeAndre, as he would be part of a championship contending team on a squad with the playmakers of all playmakers — LeBron James.
Expected Next Contract:
There were five centers in the top 24 highest paid players in the 2017-18 season: Hassan Whiteside, Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Al Horford. This is the top of the market, as all these players made between $25 million and $29 million. At this point in his career Jordan is no longer a premier player at his position, and he will no longer be paid accordingly.Look for Jordan to sign a 2-year deal with whoever offers him the contract for somewhere in the $5 - $8 million a season range.