The battle for the services of center DeAndre Jordan came down to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers thought they had the better chance of the two teams. After all, he had been a member of their team since he first entered the league and the chemistry he had with the rest of his teammates on the floor was good. But with Dallas, there was an option for Jordan to be able to get a chance to be a key cog offensively while replacing Tyson Chandler. Presented with a five-year deal worth over $109 million from the Clippers, Jordan decided to take the route that many did not expect. The athletic center decided to take the four year offer from the Dallas Mavericks worth $80 million. Since he made the unpopular decision to most, there have been rumors of his supposed beef he had with Clippers point guard Chris Paul and that being the main reason he left. Whether that is true or false we may never know, but what we do know if Dallas has landed an upgraded version of Tyson Chandler while the Clippers have now been left with a huge void in the middle.
Dallas had lost the services of Tyson Chandler this offseason and it was rumored that if they lost out on Jordan, that they would send guard Monta Ellis to the Pacers in a sign-and-trade deal that would land them the services of Pacers center Roy Hibbert. No offense to Hibbert, but there was no way that he stacked up to the play of DeAndre Jordan. Hibbert would have also slowed down the Mavericks offense, which tends to be a little bit more uptempo. With Jordan now in the fold, the Mavericks get an incredibly athletic center that can block shots, patrol the paint and also finish on the fast break better than most big men in the NBA. But even with all his physical tools, Jordan will be fighting a stigma that has been with him since Chris Paul has been tossing him lobs in Los Angeles. DeAndre is viewed as an extremely limited offensive player. Despite his physical gifts, he has not shown to be a solid offensive player in his career. And the feeling is he will not develop those skills. He wants to be more of a focus offensively, but he may want to realize that his game is not to be the offensive focus of a winning team. His game is to play defense, grab rebounds on the offensive and defensive ends and finish on the fast break. With him as an offensive focus, that not only exposes his bad offensive skills but his bad free throw shooting. Jordan has been known to build a few homes from the free throw line during his time in the NBA. The Mavericks better hope he gets it together somewhat at the free throw line, because if he does not, then he could be sitting on the bench in crucial times because of how bad he shoots form the line. He is a very good defender and can make it happen for the Mavericks defensively, but he is someone that could definitely cost the team if they use him as the focus.
Losing Jordan to the Mavericks is not only damaging but discouraging for the Clippers. They offered him the most money and more years, but he still decided to leave. He apparently wanted to be more of a focus of the offense, but that was something that could not have been promised with the presence of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and now Paul Pierce. And now without him, the Clippers have a huge hole in the middle and there are not many plans on how they will replace him. One thing the loss will do for the Clippers is make them a defensive team that will depend on their perimeter defense more. With newly acquired Lance Stephenson, he becomes even more important now because he is the second-best defender on the team now. There is now no one to cover up their mistakes on the back end in Jordan anymore, so they will have to be even more disciplined. But there is another option that’s out there for the Clippers and this player is as athletic as Jordan. The Clippers should take a chance and go sign center JaVale McGee. Sure, he has had issues in the past of losing concentration and making some head-scratching plays. But he is also a seven footer that can cover ground and can make up for mistakes defensively. The Clippers could get away with paying him not very much and get some good production out of him. Of course he is not as defensively intelligent and cannot finish as well as Jordan at the rim, but he would give the Clippers that athletic center they need to make their team work. And most importantly, he would give them the size they need to compete in the Western Conference. The Clippers defense will take a dip in production, but they will still be able to defend and make some things happen should they choose wisely how to replace Jordan.
Lob City died tonight with the loss of DeAndre Jordan. In a way, you could say he was the posterchild of Lob City with the way he finished at the rim when passes were thrown anywhere near the rim. But now he has moved on and will get to prove he is more than just a dunker, shot-blocker and finisher at the rim. He will now get the opportunity to show he actually has some game outside of the dunks. As for the Clippers, they have to move forward and make some moves to maintain some status in the Western Conference. They will undoubtedly lose some of the continuity and potential impact they would have had this season. But with Chris Paul and some of the crew still there, the Clippers still have a chance to make some things happen out West.