DeAndre Jordan is the vocal leader of the Clippers’ defense
Utah Jazz Coach Quin Snyder noticed Clippers center DeAndre Jordan studying him last month during a game at Staples Center, looking for a sign that would indicate the play Snyder’s team was going to run.
This led to some ribbing from Snyder during a lighter moment.
“You don’t know our calls yet?” Snyder asked Jordan.
“We’ve only played you once,” Jordan responded.
Snyder described Jordan as a quick study, something that often gets overlooked amid Jordan’s rebounding and shot-blocking prowess.
“The thing that, to me, about him maybe that people don’t talk as much about or enough about is his intelligence,” Snyder said Saturday before the Jazz played the Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena. “I just think he’s a really smart player.”
Snyder called Jordan the basketball equivalent of former NFL linebackers Mike Singletary and Ray Lewis as the captain of his defense. One of Jordan’s hallmarks is a booming voice that can often be heard across arenas, and it’s not just idle chatter.
“In order to be that vocal, you have to be that smart,” Snyder said, “because you have to know what to say and what he’s saying out there usually has a big impact on what’s going on in their defense.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Jordan also can anticipate plays, something his team will need lots of with forward Blake Griffin sidelined at least two weeks by a partially torn left quadriceps tendon.
“You have to see actions before actions happen,” Rivers said, “and a lot of times you have to communicate them, which D.J. does a great job of.”
A nod to greatness
Griffin said he understands the allure of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers star who is lapping the rest of the NBA in All-Star fan voting despite being one of the league’s most inefficient players this season.
“Kobe’s a guy that’s done so much for this league and has such a big imprint on the game of basketball for the past 20 years,” Griffin said Friday. “It’s just a legacy thing.”
Griffin is still on pace to make his fifth start in an All-Star game because he is third in frontcourt voting, also trailing Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The top three frontcourt players from each conference will be the starters in the midseason showcase Feb. 14 in Toronto.
Assuming both players are healthy, Griffin would start alongside Bryant in an All-Star game for a third time after having done so in 2012 and 2013. Griffin said he was fine with whatever lineup the fans wanted, considering it’s only an exhibition game.
“It’s not a real game, nobody’s really out there trying too hard, we’re just trying to put on a show and have a good time for the fans,” Griffin said. “So if the fans want to see Kobe Bryant in the All-Star game, that’s what they should get.”
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch
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