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DeAndre Jordan remains key to Clippers season

Aug 21, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

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In a twist of fate, Doc Rivers is going to need a lot from DeAndre Jordan.

Remember the Clippers were willing to ship out Jordan this summer to get Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers — a deal that David Stern killed (you can’t trade players for coaches) but told you exactly what the Clippers think of Jordan. He’s an asset. They like him but they think they can do better.

Now Rivers comes to town expected to lead a Clippers team on the cusp of contention to the Promised Land — this summer they added J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to already one of the league’s most potent offenses.

But that is not the end where Rivers needs Jordan — the key to this Clippers season is their defense and Jordan has to anchor it. Rivers has said he plans to bring a variation of the strong-side overload that Rivers and then assistant Tom Thibodeau used to bring a ring to Boston. But to make that defense work you need a smart rim-protecting big man to anchor it.

Which means Jordan needs to be improved, and he needs to hit his free throws and stay on the court at the end of game (he shot 36 percent last year). Jordan told Arash Markazi of that is exactly what he’s doing.

Jordan has been working on his free throws daily this offseason with shooting coach Bob Thate, and says it’s slowly becoming second nature.…

“I think it was such a culture shock last year of having to change my shot,” Jordan said. “But what I’ve been doing for the past however many years hasn’t been working so I have to change it. … I’ve been focusing on one shot now and I’m going to shoot that same way and I’m going to get ton of reps up and they’ll start to fall.”

Rivers is a positive guy for the most part and has turned that strategy on Jordan.

“I fit in great with what he wants to do,” Jordan said. “We’ve talked a couple times and he said my role is going to be even bigger than it was last year and I’m excited.”

But will he execute it?

The talent isn’t the question — Jordan had the talent to be one of the young players invited to Team USA’s mini-camp in Las Vegas this summer — but the mental aspects are. Jordan and Blake Griffin need to become a focused force protecting the paint on defense.

Do that and the Clippers are contenders. Don’t and they could get knocked out of the first round like happened last season with the Grizzlies (actually almost swept out as they were up 2-0 in that series and lost four in a row).

It’s not all up to Jordan, but a lot of it is.

  1. losanginsight - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    They won’t go far if it’s up to Deandre. This guy plays with two left hands. Not sure if an overrated coach with only 1 ring can help these’s clowns out.

  2. greej1938l - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    CP3 says griffin is key to the season. Boss man says Deandre Jordan is the key. Im personally going with CP3 making this a trifecta

  3. themike31 - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    How someone who spends his life playing basketball can only make 36% of Free Throws is beyond me. That’s like being a fat guy who only gets 36% of the fries in his mouth after dunking home the double cheeseburger.

  4. senorpapino - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Jordan is probably the most overrated big man in the game today.

  5. malibudave66 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    This young Man has all the stuff and talent just needs seasoning and it will come. Doc will get that out of him plus just a kid with a great attitude and would take him over Dwight any day!!! Watch out NBA I’m a diehard Laker fan but these Chippers are Real!!! Wow!!! Kobe is going Damm I wish we had him!!!

  6. jimsjam33 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Strange ,

    Last week the Clippers season depended on how well Griffin played according to CP3 . This week it’s Jordan according to Kurt Helin . May I interject my opinion and say the Clippers will do just fine this season . They have a great coach , 14 players who understand their roles , and the desire to go beyond the first round of the play-offs . Jordan will do just fine ; however , the Clippers do need a rugged power forward backup for Griffin . Louis Admundsen would fill that role just fine . Fifteen minutes off the bench with 3 or 4 rebounds and fine defensive work . I can hardly wait for the season to start .

  7. e39er - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    ^ You sir have the comment of the year!

  8. jerdogthompson - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Free throws are a concern. I have all the faith in Tate and Rivers to get what the Clippers need out of Jordan and every other player for that matter.

    Can we start the season already? Can’t wait……….

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