Jarrett Allen- “All-Defensive Team”
Jarrett Allen is emerging as a reliable defensive anchor for Kenny Atkinson, but he still has work to do in that regard. Perhaps DeAndre Jordan provides tutelage for the 21-year-old in anchoring the frontcourt, as he does have the potential to be a defensive force in this league.
We know he’s still growing into his NBA body, there won’t be many that contest the argument that he needs to strengthen his body to bang down low with the more physical bigs around the association.
But his overall timing is improving, he’s progressing as a big not easily broken down in isolation by perimeter players, and his athleticism paired with his 7-foot-5 wingspan always means he’s in contention to alter the opposition’s shot attempt.
Last season he finished 9th in the NBA in block percentage (4.5 percent) and was 14th in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (3.2)—if he builds off of his impressive sophomore campaign, he may just get acknowledged as one of the league’s better defenders.
DeAndre Jordan- “Reliable backup plan”
DeAndre Jordan’s prime athletic years are behind him—he’s still as efficient as they come as a roll man in pick and roll sets—but that physical freak of nature manning the paint we once knew in “Lob City” is no more. However, he’s still one of the better rebounders we have in the NBA; last year he finished 4th in the NBA in defensive rebounding (9.8) and 11th in offensive rebounding (3.3).
He’s more of a physical presence in the low block than Jarrett Allen is, if Allen is struggling to fend off one of the more physical bigs the league has to offer, Jordan can step up adequately. According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, he’s been on working on adding a three-point shot in his offensive arsenal, but, that seems just moderately unrealistic at this point.
DeAndre doesn’t need to be a stretch-5 to have success on this roster; if he ramps up his defensive effort to similar levels to what it once was and does well in his strengths, he’s a very reliable backup.
Nicolas Claxton- “All-Rookie Team”
Behind the genius of Sean Marks, and the reliable scouting acumen of Trajan Langdon, this is an organization that made the absolute best of what can be described as less than flattering draft seedings in the past few years. Nicolas Claxton could very well prove to be another diamond in the rough for this front office, as the Georgia product has seemingly endless potential on both ends of the court.
We don’t know how significant his role within this rotation will be as a rookie next year, they are relatively deep, but if given a platform to showcase his skills to the NBA world—Claxton might leave fans scratching their heads on how he fell so late in the draft. He can create for himself at the top of the perimeter, a skill that makes any big man alluring.
He needs to get stronger but his athleticism and length helped him finish 7th in the SEC last year in block percentage (8.0). His shot needs work, but he’s 20-years-old, there is plenty of time for him to hone his craft. If given the opportunity, Claxton could emerge as one of the better rookies this draft class.