PATTEN PENDING: JORDAN SHOULD BE AN ALL-STAR
DeAndre Jordan is an All-Star.
It shouldn’t matter if there is a deep pool of candidates in the Western Conference. It shouldn’t matter if the league made it infinitely more difficult for centers to earn an All-Star bid. And certainly shouldn’t matter if the Clippers, one of the hottest teams in the league and one game in the win column behind the Spurs and Trail Blazers, send three players to New Orleans.
Jordan, putting together a career year, should be there on Sunday, Feb. 16. He should be wearing that funky red short-sleeve jersey with a fir de lis on the front and a Clippers logo emblazoned in silver on the back.
But the harsh reality is that he in all likelihood will not be selected as one of seven reserves scheduled to be announced on Thursday.
It’s a numbers game. The West is loaded. And there is an inherent bias towards offensive players.
“I think when we're voting for All-Stars and all whatever these things are we always look at the offensive guys who change the game on one end,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “But I don't think we give enough credit to the defensive guys that change the game on one end. [Jordan] has an All-Star impact."
Rivers is not alone in that sentiment. The more coaches I’ve talked to over the course of the season, the more who believe Jordan has been as important of a factor in the Clippers’ success as anyone. Dave Joerger thinks he’s a “game-changer” defensively. Rick Carlisle says he keeps getting better and better. And when I asked Steve Clifford about what All-Star starter Blake Griffin has improved from a season ago, he praised Griffin briefly before saying, “You can’t forget about what DeAndre Jordan has done.”
Through 47 games, Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding and field goal percentage and is fourth in blocked shots. He is the only player in the league averaging more than 13 boards per game (13.9). He’s had 16 or more rebounds 17 times. He’s the league’s iron man, registering the longest active streak of consecutive games played. He’s had 21 double-doubles, nine more than his previous career best. He averages 2.4 blocks and 1.0 steals that’s more steals and blocks combined than anyone in the league outside of Anthony Davis. And Jordan, unlike Davis, anchors the eighth most efficient defense in the league.
"He's the best defender [in the league] in my opinion, or one of them,” Rivers said. “He's one of the best rebounders. He intimidates. He changes the game on one end.”
Jordan is among a short list of candidates for most improved and defensive player of the year. He has transformed himself, with the urging of Rivers, into a 35-minute per game, consistently reliable force. It seems natural that he should also be in the All-Star conversation.
Asked if he thought he deserved to represent the Clippers in New Orleans Jordan said, “Hell yeah.”
All-Star confidence for an All-Star worthy season.