Based purely on early success in the 2013-14 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have a decisive advantage over the Brooklyn Nets. While the Clippers sit at 15-8 and are poised to make another run at the postseason in the Western Conference, the Nets are a meager 7-14 and are trying to rebound after a terrible and tumultuous start.
However, this Nets team is slowly getting better because, simply, they are getting healthier. Star point guard Deron Williams is now back to action, which is obviously a huge asset for Brooklyn as he affects the game with both his scoring and passing ability. His passing ability is going to be key as the Nets, if they’re wise, will be looking to feed Brook Lopez in this game.
Lopez has been fantastic for Brooklyn this season, which is why they want to get the big man his touches. However, the matchup with the Clippers also seems to present the opportunity to score in the post as they give up a lot of points in the paint. A large part of their defensive struggles in the post is a result of DeAndre Jordan not growing to the level the team expected him to as a defender.
Though he’s an athletic freak that can block shots, Jordan’s footwork and IQ defensively aren’t at the level that they should be. For example, the Clippers are actually 6.4 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Jordan is on the bench. For a guy that needs to be a wall at the center position, that’s now what you want to see.
The interesting thing with Jordan, though, is that you can see that the potential is there, but that he just hasn’t put it all together. Thursday night against Brooklyn would be a timely occasion to put it together, though. If Jordan isn’t able to at least slow down Lopez in the post, the Clippers could be another step in Brooklyn’s run to try and get to .500 on the year.