The Los Angeles Clippers made a lot of changes this off-season, adding seven new players to their roster. However, the biggest change made in the off-season might have been with a player already on that roster, DeAndre Jordan.
When people talk about Jordan they usually bring up his athleticism and ability to dunk a basketball. He provides a rare athletic ability at 6’11” and 265 pounds, allowing him to jump out of the building at times to block a shot or catch a lob pass for a slam-dunk. It’s been four years into his NBA career and all he has been known for is an athletic big man who can block some shots, catch a lob pass for an easy dunk, but has absolutely no offensive game.
After a Clippers game last year on TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show Charles Barkley let people know how pathectic Jordan is at the offensive end of the floor. “If you left DeAndre Jordan in a gym overnight and told him he could not dunk, he would have only 6 points in the morning” Barkley said.
Well Jordan might have heard that Barkley quote and wants him to eat those words because he has looked like a completely different player so far in the preseason. In just three preseason games Jordan has been an offensive presence in all of them. He is now calling for the ball on the block and getting it, when last season it was almost frowned upon to go inside to him for points. It looks like he has developed a nice up-and-under move and a solid spin move on the baseline. He has averaged 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in those three preseason games.
In those three games combined Jordan has shot 18-22 from the field. In his last game against the Miami Heat he finished 8-8 from the field with 18 points and 9 rebounds in 24 minutes. The only downside to the development of his offensive game is the free throw shooting. If Jordan wants to be an offensive threat for the Clippers he needs to fix his approach at the free throw line, where he shot .52 percent last season. It appears he still has a long way to go after going 3-18 from the line in those three preseason games.
The new look Jordan has been very impressive so far in the preseason and could benefit the Clippers during the regular season. It would be huge for this team to have another scoring threat alongside of Blake Griffin in the post. If Jordan can maintain a solid offensive game throughout the season then this Clippers team might be able to matchup better than people think with their so-called “big brother,” the Los Angeles Lakers.
It actually looks like Jordan ended up taking that Barkley quote as advice, locked himself in a gym all night, told himself not to dunk, and came out with a much improved offensive game. In an off-season with so many changes to the roster and front office it could be the change in Jordan’s offensive game that makes the difference.
Follow Michael on Twitter