The Los Angeles Clippers are cruising right now while slowly morphing into NBA title contenders. At 33-13, they’re comfortably atop the Western Conference’s Pacific Division and, more importantly (ok, not really), 13 games ahead of their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers had a great run in their first year with Chris Paul in 2012 and look to be the team to beat in 2013, but that will take more than just them playing good basketball for the time being. The Clippers need DeAndre Jordan to be an asset on the court and not just a warm body, or sometimes a liability.
Now in his fifth year with the Clippers, Jordan’s numbers really haven’t changed at all with all the new additions the team has made, which can be a good thing, but is typically a bad thing. His rebounding should have instantly gone up with the addition of Paul, but it didn’t. However, rebounding isn’t even the problem at this point.
Jordan is averaging a career-best 8.8 points per game in 2013, but it’s coming on the worst shooting percentages he’s recorded since turning pro. His field goal percentage is under 60 for the first time since he entered the league in 2008 and his free throw percentage is a dreadful 42.9.
In short, the Clippers can’t rely on Jordan late in close games, which means his value to the team is extremely limited considering Los Angeles is on the verge of becoming a title contender. The Clippers may be Paul’s team, but they will only go as far as Jordan takes them.