One of DeAndre Jordan’s alleged hesitations about re-signing with the Clippers this past summer was his diminished role in the team’s offense.
With the Clippers, Jordan plays behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as a scoring option. With the Dallas Mavericks, he could’ve been the franchise player.
The then-free agent chose to return to the Clippers, backing out of a verbal commitment to sign with the Mavericks, and on media day on Friday, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he sees Jordan having a more prominent offensive role this time around.
“He needs to be involved more,” Rivers said. “For us to be better, I think DJ actually does need to be involved more. We’re going to feature Chris and Blake and go to JJ, those will be our key offensive guys, but we want him to be involved more.”
Last season Jordan led the league in rebounds (averaging 15 per game) and defensive rebounds (10.1) and was fourth in blocks (2.23). He grabbed 1,226 rebounds, setting a single-season franchise record. Jordan also averaged career highs in points (11.5) and field goal percentage (71%), and had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game four times.
Yet he was passed over for the All-Star team.
When Jordan was asked if his expectations for this season were different than last, he said he was just looking to be the best he can be.
“My expectations are just for me to be an all-around better player,” he said. “I want to improve every year. I’m not in Dallas, I’m in Los Angeles .... I’m just going to do anything I can to help us get better and help us achieve our ultimate goal.”
Rivers acknowledged that when Jordan initially chose to leave the Clippers, he conducted what he called a self-search.
“DJ and I are as close as a player-coach can possibly be,” Rivers said. “We have an amazing relationship, and yet we still almost lost him. So you always try to self-search and figure out why that happened.
“There’s a lot of reasons why something like that can happen. So you do that on your own, you always do. Listen, I want to get this right every single time. I understand there’s times that I won’t, as a coach making decisions or as a GM making decisions. But I want to get it right every single time. So every time something like that happens, it’s another opportunity to self-evaluate. And you do that. I just always go back to Chuck Daley, a Hall of Famer and probably one of the best communicators in the game, and to his dying days he said he should’ve communicated better. So you look at Chuck saying that and you know you have a long way to go.”
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