Whether Brooklyn Nets fans like it or not, DeAndre Jordan probably isn’t going anywhere.
It’s good to make friends in high places. Such a philosophy is universally accepted; it can aid you in the job market, further your career or even provide you financial stability. Even though the NBA can be a downright cruel and arbitrary business at times, benefitting from having powerful friends translates to the basketball sphere—just ask DeAndre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s not to say that Jordan isn’t a respectable NBA player that hasn’t carved out a nice career for himself, he more than has. The former All-NBA First Team member back in 2016 was an integral piece to a Los Angeles Clippers squad that was always perceived as a threat to take the western conference and compete for ownership of the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
But those days are well behind him. He’s shown irrefutable worth as a backup center behind Jarrett Allen this season—leading in the NBA in rebounds per game off the bench—and has even outplayed the 21-year-old in the past several weeks, but should fans feel fully confident that he can man the paint throughout an 82-game season for a team with title aspirations? That’s tricky.
Jordan is going to be 32-years-old in July and in numerous performances this season, he’s looked every bit of his age in the worst possible way. You can often see him flat-footed in the paint, reluctant to meet perimeter players outside of his comfort zone—though that could be by former head coach Kenny Atkinson’s design but that’s seriously debatable—or essentially, and you never really want to question a player’s drive, just going through the motions.
However, alongside the talent on the floor that will be present next season, it’s not exactly like he’s going to be asked to be the most dominant big in the association. He’s strong, much more physical than Allen is at this point in his career, runs the pick-and-roll as well as really anyone in the league (85th percentile at 1.33 points per possession), has shown capable as a passer in instances such as the short roll, and is impressive on switches (ranking in the 89th percentile in isolation defense).
Overall, he’s holding opponents to just 40.5 percent shooting; there is something to be said of that.
It appears as if he has the trust of Irving and Durant, and that goes a long way if you’re a Brooklyn Net. Marks had the option to move him this past deadline with the Houston Rockets reportedly having an interest in the former all-star, but the Nets never really entertained the idea.
It’s solely speculation at this point, but did being friends with the two superstars play a role, be it minor or major, in the Nets’ reluctance? You be the judge.
Ultimately, the Nets have the talent already—and who knows what happens this offseason—to compensate for any of Jordan’s offensive inadequacies. Likewise, as mentioned, it’s not exactly like he’s a net negative on the defensive end. He does have a 0.17 defensive real plus-minus according to ESPN while primarily playing with the team’s second unit this season. Impressive? Eh. But not negative!
Should there be concern about him in a playoff series late into the postseason? Sure. He does not provide much as an offensive threat besides his ability as a rim-runner, and it’s not exactly like he can space the floor, but his improved free throwing shooting might act as a deterrent to teams looking to intentionally foul him. There is hope that he won’t be played off the floor.
I mean, it’s not exactly an ideal fit, but there is a real chance that Jordan at the five will translate over to success next season. This article also heavily predicates on Sean Marks dealing Allen; whom he drafted with the 22nd pick in the 2017 NBA draft. But if Durant and Irving want Jordan—who they took a pay cut for to get him in Brooklyn—around, he’s not going anywhere. Hate it or love it.