It was his "mind-set" that changed everything for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan this season.
Jordan told himself that he would be a better defender and rebounder, and that his offense would be the least of his worries.
That's also what Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and his staff demanded from Jordan, and he has not let them down.
"They put a lot on me," Jordan said. "And really I'm just embracing it."
The entire NBA has taken notice of the 25-year-old's performance this season.
He leads the NBA in rebounds, averaging 13.5 per game. He's third in the league in blocked shots, averaging 2.41 per game. And he has 15 double-doubles, tied for 14th-best in the league.
Although the vast majority of his points may come on dunks — and lob dunks at that — Jordan has taken advantage of his skills at throwing down those dunks to lead the NBA in field-goal percentage, at 64.4%.
And Jordan has been durable, having played in all 37 of the Clippers' games. He has produced double figures in rebounds in all but five of the games.
"They definitely put a lot of the onus on me," Jordan said about the Clippers' coaching staff and their emphasis on defense.
"But it starts with me. That's something that I like. I like that challenge. I like when something goes wrong they yell at me because that's my end of the floor, which is fine. Sometimes it may not even be my fault, but I need to know what happened and what was the breakdown defensively."
The Clippers waived veteran forward Stephen Jackson on Tuesday, opening the door for them to sign another player because the Clippers are down to a 14-man roster.
Jackson averaged 1.7 points and played in only nine games after he was signed by the Clippers as a free agent Dec. 10. His contract would have become guaranteed for the rest of the season if he hadn't been waived Tuesday.
"He was really, really great," Rivers told reporters before Tuesday's practice. "It was more once Chris [Paul] went down [with a shoulder separation], we needed guards."
The Clippers are considering signing point guard Maalik Wayns to a 10-day contract, according to NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The Clippers released Wayns on Sunday.
The Clippers initially had an interest in signing former Laker, free-agent guard Sasha Vujacic to a 10-day contract but have cooled on that idea for now, the officials said.
And the Clippers are leaning away from trying to sign another former Laker, center Andrew Bynum, who was waived by the Chicago Bulls, the executives said.
The Clippers think that Bynum had too many issues during his half-season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that traded him to Chicago. Cleveland suspended Bynum for conduct detrimental to the team and told him to stay away from the team.
Twitter:@BA_TurnerCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times