Doc Rivers’ message had a nice ring to it: Vote for D.J.
The Clippers coach said Wednesday he had lobbied his fellow Western Conference coaches to cast an All-Star vote for center DeAndre Jordan, who has become one of the game’s elite big men in his sixth NBA season.
“I got a great response,” Rivers said, “but that’s why you go under a curtain and you vote for real because [they say], ‘Yeah, I’m going to vote for him’ and then they [pull] that other lever.”
The coaches will select the seven reserves from the West who will be announced Thursday afternoon on TNT: three frontcourt players, two backcourt players and two wild-card players from any position.
The starting frontcourt players are the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Minnesota’s Kevin Love and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. New Commissioner Adam Silver will select a replacement for injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant, though it does not have to be a backcourt player.
Jordan entered Wednesday leading the NBA in field-goal percentage (.645) and rebounding (13.9) while ranking fourth in blocks (2.4). He was also averaging a career-high 9.5 points per game.
Being selected one of the final frontcourt players will be a, well, tall order. Among the other candidates are Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Houston’s Dwight Howard, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Golden State’s David Lee and Memphis’ Zach Randolph.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” Rivers said of Jordan’s being selected as an All-Star. “There’s just a lot of guys at that position, the four-five.”
Clippers reserve forward Antawn Jamison was unavailable for the Clippers’ game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday because of a viral illness. Jamison has played only 21 games, averaging 11.3 minutes.