DEANDRE JORDAN FINISHES 3RD IN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR VOTING

Doc Rivers set his standards high for DeAndre Jordan.

Back in October, when the Clippers opened training camp, Rivers suggested, in what has become a well-documented and oft-told story, his sixth-year center could be Defensive Player of the Year.

Jordan responded with the best season of his career. He led the NBA in rebounding, finished third in blocked shots and led the NBA in field goal percentage, setting a new franchise record in the process by making 67.6 percent of his shots.

All of the on-court success, and Rivers’ ability to forecast what Jordan’s impact on the defensive end of the floor could be, earned Jordan a third place finish in the KIA Defensive Player of the Year voting Monday.

Joakim Noah of the Bulls won the award and Indiana’s Roy Hibbert finished second, 45 points ahead of Jordan in the balloting. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

“I think that’s a great step for him and he should look at it that way,” Rivers said. “I’m sure he’s disappointed. But I do think individual awards are tied to team success. Indiana was in the Eastern Finals, Noah’s advanced several times in the Playoffs. And I do think that helps when the voting goes down. We have to do something as group to help D.J. more as an individual.”

The Clippers won a franchise-record 57 games in the regular season, but have yet to have the sustained postseason run that Rivers indicated can help. However, Jordan’s place in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting may help set the stage for future shots at the award. Effectively, Jordan went from not being mentioned as the best defensive player on his own team, a role typically reserved for by five-time All-Defensive team member Chris Paul, to being named among the three best defenders in the NBA.

It was something that Blake Griffin said recently started as far back as two seasons ago, when Jordan was a full-time starter on the first of three-straight Clippers Playoff teams. This season, armed with major minutes and confidence instilled by a trip to Team USA minicamp this summer and Rivers’ bold predictions, Jordan broke out.

Asked if Jordan exceeded those expectations, Rivers said Monday, “I don’t know the answer to that. I just knew he could be a great defensive player. So, I don’t know if he exceeded it. I was very happy that he did it because we wouldn’t be here without him. He’s as important as anybody on our team.”

2013-14 KIA NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR RESULTS                                                                                              

PLAYER

1st Place (5 Pts)

2nd Place (3 Pts)

3rd Place (1 pt)

Total Points

Joakim Noah, Bulls

100

17

4

555

Roy Hibbert, Pacers

8

36

18

166

DeAndre Jordan, Clippers

8

23

12

121

Serge Ibaka, Thunder

2

17

18

79

Andre Iguodala, Warriors

1

7

21

47