His growth as a player didn't just stop when Clippers center DeAndre Jordan became a first-team All-NBA player and a first-team All-Defensive player following the 2015-16 season.
Jordan was on the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics, and from that experience, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has seen a more mature player.
"There's definitely been [growth] in the leadership category," Rivers said. "He talks more, which I didn't know was possible. But he does — really more. I think he prepares better. He was probably around those guys and someone must've worked really hard over in Brazil. You can see D.J. is doing that now. He's putting in more time. He has a better confidence. You can see, even free-throw wise, when you look at him. He looks comfortable. They're going in a little more, which is good, but the confidence part is good to see."
Jordan averaged 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds per game last season.
He shot a league-best 70.3% from the field, mostly on dunks.
"He's got all the ability," Rivers said. "I still believe he can be a pretty effective scorer in the post someday."
Speights at ease with Clippers
It was during the exhibition season when Marreese Speights first realized it wasn't going to take long to fit in with the Clippers.
Speights was new to the team, having joined the Clippers as a free agent from the Golden State Warriors.
But he'll be counted on to be one of the scorers off the bench.
"One of the many reasons I came here [is] because I could get an opportunity to play on a championship caliber team and be able to be one of the guys to come off the bench and make an impact on the team," Speights said.
Alan Anderson, who twice had surgery on his left ankle last season with Washington, still is working his way through his injury. But he was on the active roster for the Portland game.
Paul Pierce, sprained right ankle, didn't suit up.
Rivers said the Clippers will have to be "protective" with Anderson in the early part of the season.
"Alan still has injuries with his foot so it's just going to take him some time," Rivers said. "We're going to have to be patient with that. He misses practice, games and stuff and that'll be for a while."
Rivers said Pierce, who's retiring after this season, got some shots up before Thursday night's game.
"But now he's limping more today. So I don't know if he probably would say that may not have been a good idea," Rivers said. "But he was moving around pretty good today."