Nets: DeAndre Jordan workout proves he’s working on his defense

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 16: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 16: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets had plenty of positives to write home about last year, and they will enter the 2021 season with an abundance of hype.

But one part of the roster that they aren’t exactly shouting from the rooftops over is center DeAndre Jordan, who is collecting a tidy salary despite the fact his production didn’t match that of an elite center.

After Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both took slightly less than the maximum they could’ve earned to make sure Jordan signed one more long-term deal with Brooklyn, Jordan failed to live up to his end of the bargain, as his poor defense has made him almost unplayable in Brooklyn’s high-octane scheme.

Jordan was taken out of the rotation in the postseason, as the Nets choose to replace him by making an offensive-minded player like Blake Griffin the starting center and defensive stopper Nicolas Claxton the backup.

Determined to get his minutes back by any means necessary, it seems Jordan is committing to improving on the defensive end.

Jordan was seen working out with social media standout “lethalshooter” as he tries to stick in the NBA by reinventing his game to something that could help the Nets be more productive at the end of games.

Jordan is working on becoming a more versatile defender and better foul shooter, as those traits could be what helps him somehow earn the trust of the coaching staff and steal minutes back from Claxton and Griffin this year.

Will the Nets put DeAndre Jordan in the rotation?

Jordan’s 76% field goal percentage sounds impressive, but his offensive value is limited to exclusively dunking the basketball. Jordan averaged just 7.5 points per game, and his sharply declining rebounding production isn’t ideal either for someone that used to be the best rebounder in the game.

Jordan’s 7.8 rebounds per game average show a decline from the 10.0 per contest he recorded during his first season with the Nets. When adding physicality and the ability to hoover up boards is the only string to his bow, it’s easy to see why he fell out of favor.

When paired with the fact his interior defense was roasted routinely by all manner of opposing big men, it’s easy to see why Steve Nash leaned on the Griffin/Claxton combination.

Marks claims that despite Jordan’s poor play, he is a part of this team moving forward. Be it because he is genuinely encouraged by his progress or because he has found it hard to offload his contract in trade talks due to his production, Jordan is coming back next year, though his role remains unknown.

The Griffin/Claxton combo might sound great in theory, but it is easy to poke holes in. The playoffs showed last year that Griffin is still a negative on defense that a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo can exploit. Claxton’s defense is rock-solid, but Nash was hesitant to deploy him for extended periods in the postseason.

As tough as it may be to get rid of that contract, Marks has proven in the past that he is more than willing to ditch moves that don’t work out as soon as he can. Jordan has a friendship with Irving and Durant, but both of them might need to face the music and realize that Jordan is inhibiting their title quest if he doesn’t make the requisite improvements in his game.

The player we saw with the Los Angeles Clippers is long gone. The only way that Jordan can stick with the Nets on the court is by focusing 100% of his energy on becoming a physical defender that can help Brooklyn get stops against bigger lineups. Whether or not you have confidence in Jordan’s ability to make that change is all on you.