Jordan Goes Right, Which Redick Feels Is Right
LOS ANGELES – DeAndre Jordan made a move, drove to his right, then finished with his right hand on a baby hook. Then, he did it again, and again.
Everyone knows the Clippers’ center can dunk, and he did that with ferocity Monday night against the Suns, but the left-hander also regularly made drives he said he would’ve never even tried months ago, often finishing with his right.
“I’ve tried for the last two years to convince him to shoot free throws right-handed,” said J.J. Redick, completely seriously. “I really have.”
Redick then listed a bevy of reasons for that, explaining that Jordan jumps off his left foot, which is something most right-handed people do. More obviously, there’s what Jordan showed off Monday night while scoring 17 points.
“He shoots every single jump hook – and tonight, running hook – with his right hand,” Redick said. “He finishes around the basket with his right hand. He’s really good at it.”
Jordan credits his teammates for giving him the confidence to make those types of plays and for feeding him in the first place. He also said the aggressiveness of Redick and Chris Paul put him in position to duck in.
Plus, Paul pushes him to take advantage when he gets it in the paint.
“We talked about it today at film session, in that I have to do a better job trying to find him, and we have to pick our spots,” Paul said. “We’re always trying to get it to him and feed him.”
But once Jordan got the passes, it was all him. And whether dunking or hitting a hook shot, he was often preferring his right.
“He’s left-handed, but…” head coach Doc Rivers started, before cutting himself off.
Maybe Rivers isn’t sure. Ask Redick, and he’d say Jordan’s better with his right. Anyone watching Jordan throw out the first pitch at the Angels game this summer would probably say the same, as the center delivered a strike while tossing the pitch with his right arm.
Jordan said Monday he’s comfortable finishing with either hand, using post moves he said he’s worked on more and more. Regardless which hand he ends up finishing with more, Rivers believes what Jordan showed off offensively Monday may stem from a talk sometime around the Heat game on the road earlier this year.
“There’s times where he can duck in, and he doesn’t do it,” Rivers said. “We want him to do it, and we’re going to get him if he does it. Then he has to put the work in, as well. Since that day (in Miami), I think he’s stayed over. He’s working hard on that.”
More than anything, Rivers said Jordan’s slowing down. Jordan’s starting to realize he doesn’t need to go 100 miles per hour when he gets the ball to be able to finish when someone feeds him in the paint, which Rivers said “is really important.”
“It sounds silly, but I tell him, ‘DJ, the guy’s not going to grow,’” Rivers said. “’If you’re bigger than the guy guarding you, what’s the rush? He’s still going to be 6-9 10 seconds later.’ I think he’s starting to understand that and take his time.”
On Monday, Jordan calmly received entry passes and followed by doing the rest himself. He caught it, went to his right and finished with his right. If he can continue to demonstrate that ability, Rivers said it’ll make defenders struggle even more with their switches.
Redick said many of the duck-ins were designed plays out of timeouts, while some of it was just Paul and Jordan having a connection. Paul said it makes the Clippers better when Jordan demands the ball that way.
“When he ducks in, rolls for lobs, he makes a lot of the action happen,” Paul said. “Just about every time I get a layup, it’s because of big fella. Nobody wants to see him dunk. Nobody wants to be on the highlights. I thought it was great for us tonight to feed him and get him going early.”
Jordan was a force on both ends.
The stats will show Jordan reeled 11 rebounds, tied for his lowest total this month, but he was as active defensively as he’s ever been, blocking four shots and making the Suns second-guess every time they entered the paint. Eventually, it forced them to chuck up shots from the perimeter instead.
The defense for Jordan will always be there. On Monday, the offense followed suit for more reasons than dunking, which he demonstrated can open up an already efficient offense even more.
“He was absolutely wonderful all over the floor,” Rivers said.