Brooklyn Nets: Reasonable expectations for DeAndre Jordan’s Nets career

DeAndre Jordan Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
DeAndre Jordan Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

DeAndre Jordan‘s prime basketball years are behind him. What can the Brooklyn Nets expect from him moving forward?

The signing of DeAndre Jordan by the Brooklyn Nets may have come as a shock too many, but it was something they had to do. His relationship with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving helped sway the two superstars to come to the Barclays Center. With that being said, was $10million a year for 4 years too much for DeAndre Jordan? What does he reasonably bring to the table for the Nets?

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Jordan’s contract. While $10 million a year seems excessive, but in today’s NBA, it is a reasonable price to pay for a rotation player. After the NBA increased its salary cap, we have seen teams get locked into contracts that pay players north of $40 million by the end of the deal.

We have also seen a proliferation in teams throwing money at restricted free agents. The Nets paid Allen Crabbe $18.5 million a year and he contributed minimally to the teams’ ultimate success in 2018-2019.

There are also centers who lack Jordan’s consistent production and get paid more.  Gorgui Dieng averaged a measly 6 points and 4 rebounds a game last year, despite earning $16 million. Remember Mason Plumlee? He makes over $14 million and averaged about 8 points a game last year. The point is, while $10 million for Jordan is a lot, it is not that much in the grand scheme of things.

At minimum, assuming limited productivity, Jordan is a big body who can sub in for Allen to protect the rim against guys like Embiid. However, Jordan likely will have a higher ceiling than that.

DeAndre Jordan has certainly lost a step. He no longer has the same jolt that he once did on the Lob-City Clippers. He is simply less explosive now. But his regression is not necessarily showing up in the box scores.

For the 6th straight year, he averaged over 13 rebounds a game and 11 points per game. His field goal percentage has dipped from about 70% to 63%, but shockingly his free throw percentage has skyrocketed to 70% after once shooting 37% from the line.

His PER of 19 last year was in line with how he performed while he was on the Clippers in his prime. Sure, he has looked significantly worse on the defensive end, but from a production perspective he is still putting up good stats.

The last piece to his career with the Nets will be his presence as a veteran. As a veteran, he is critically important to the team’s success for 2 reasons, his relationship with Brooklyn’s stars and his leadership over the young guys.

First of all, his relationship with Kyrie and KD will be vital for keeping team chemistry flowing. In 2019-20, with KD on the bench, it will be up to DeAndre to be the veteran in the room and prevent outbursts from certain players. Jordan has the advantage of possessing genuine friendships in that locker room and has experience coming from less than ideal situations from previous stints.

The second key to Deandre Jordan’s tenure in Brooklyn will be his presence with Jarrett Allen and Nic Claxton. These two big men have a lot of talent that can be unlocked. Having a veteran who is big and physical to push them around in practice every week will be vital in their development.

Jordan as an NBA veteran has a lot of knowledge that he can let trickle down to these two young guys, potentially accelerating their development and giving Brooklyn more depth down low.

There is overall a lot of reasons to be optimistic about DeAndre Jordan’s Brooklyn tenure. At the bare minimum, if he is washed, he will provide leadership and grit to the Brooklyn big men.

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However, it is likely that he provides the team with valuable minutes as a rotation player off the bench to sub in for Allen. As with previous seasons, if he gets the minutes,  you can probably bank on him averaging  10 points and 10 rebounds in 2019-2020. With no shortage of albatross contracts floating around the NBA, $10m a year for him might just be a bargain.