Great Expectations for DeAndre Jordan
Eric Patten, Clippers.com | 12/16/11

DeAndre Jordan smiled broadly and pulled a new white Clippers jersey over his head as he walked out of the team’s weight room about 30 minutes into the team’s annual Media Day on Dec. 13.

The smile is rather customary for the effervescent 23-year old.

He’s likeable, funny, and unmistakably a team favorite. If the Clippers roster were an energy drink, Jordan would be the caffeine.

He plays as if the hardwood was transplanted with a trampoline. He could jump twice to block a shot before any other player on the court leaves their feet.

When Jordan walked out of the weight room, donning jersey No. 6 as opposed to his usual No. 9, the mood of the players around him shifted noticeably.

He greeted Eric Bledsoe with a giant hug, nearly tackling the 6-foot-1 guard and causing legendary Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler, who was standing nearby, to implore Jordan to “leave him alone.” Within a second, all three men were laughing.

Still smiling, Jordan wandered around the gym for several seconds greeting old and new teammates alike. In his first interview with the media, he impersonated a late night DJ.

“This is DeAndre Jordan with the Midnight Hour, the Quiet Storm. And the number one hit of the weekend is a song by Drake: ‘Headlines.’”

He joked with forward Ryan Gomes, saying, that the Clippers offense was simple, basically, give the ball to Gomes and get out of the way.

FREE AGENCY

Jordan was officially absent from the team for four days, while he was being courted during his period of restricted free agency. He signed a four-year offer sheet with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, Dec. 11; a contract the Clippers matched less than 24-hours later. The wait must have seemed like a millennium.

“I’m excited,” Jordan said. “It was a long, tough process but I’m definitely excited to get in here with the guys and hopefully make a run to the postseason.”

Blake Griffin had been in contact with Jordan throughout the summer and the free agent process. “From me to him, it was more of a friendship thing,” Griffin said. “I wanted to see him get what he deserves. And I think he did. I think he thinks he did, too. And obviously we’re glad have him back.”

Bledsoe agreed, saying, “It’s a great feeling that D.J. came back. Like I’ve said, he’s one of the big parts of our team. He’s a big force down low as far as blocking shots and getting dunks and bringing excitement to the game.”

The excitement level is at an all-time high, now.

With Chris Paul, who many have referred to as more point perfect than point guard, waiting to join forces with the frontcourt duo of Jordan and his superstar buddy Griffin, Jordan’s new contract might eventually seem like a bargain.

THE NUMBER 6


Jordan switched jersey numbers from 9 to 6, but he actually took No. 6 when he was drafted in 2008.

“I had 6 my rookie year, but right when training camp started we acquired Jason Hart and I was a rookie and had to give up my number. So I just flipped it upside down and took 9. Now, I got 6 back.”

The following year, shooting guard Bobby Brown wore No. 6.

Jordan’s contributions to the offense may skyrocket with the addition of Paul. Once the trade was consummated, Jordan immediately drew comparisons to a young Tyson Chandler, who thrived catching lob passes from Paul during his best seasons with the Hornets.

“We’re getting a great player [in Paul], an All-Star,” Jordan said. “He’s going to make me, Blake, and the rest of this team better.”

And that’s the refreshing thing about Jordan. He’s more focused than ever on improving.

In his first three seasons, much of Jordan’s offensive game has been limited to dunks and shots around the rim. And while he finished with career highs in points (7.1 per game), rebounds (7.6), and blocks (1.8) last season, he still had significant room to grow, which is why he spent the summer working out in his hometown of Houston with former Sixers, Spurs, and Cavaliers coach John Lucas.

“I’ve got a couple of go-to moves in the post, a couple of counters,” Jordan said. “Whenever I get the ball down there, you know, they’ll have confidence in me to get a bucket or go to the line and knock them down.


DeAndre Jordan explains his jersey switch back to #6.
“I was in Houston working out the whole time. Gerald Green was there. We had Chris Wilcox and a couple college guys. Thaddeus Young was there, John Lucas III. We had a lot of guys, man. It was a pretty good competition.”

With the new contract, comes a different set of expectations, which is something Olshey explained in detail upon Jordan’s return.

“I think that everybody understood with DeAndre Jordan that there was a dollar amount based on who he is today,” Olshey said. “And there was a premium paid not only to obtain his services, but the premium that was going to be paid based on upside and potential. At the end of the day, that was our asset, we developed it. He was always going to be a part of our future. And once you make that decision, the dollar amount doesn’t matter. You know, Golden State would try to put as much pressure on us as possible from a financial standpoint. But at the end of the day, once you decide DeAndre’s going to be here, the money’s secondary.”

Jordan had a similar perspective saying, “People may want there to be pressure, but I’m going to come out and play my same game. I’m not going to come out and when we play the Warriors, shoot threes.

“I’m not going to try to step outside of my game,” he continued. “I’m pretty much going to do the same things I did last year and improve on all of those as much as I possibly can. And just be a team guy and be the leader of the defense.”

I can’t get complacent. I’ve got to keep getting better and help this team win.”


Clippers Re-Sign DeAndre Jordan | Chris Paul Officially Introduced