The Sixers are expected to sign a veteran of the big man, DeAndre Jordan, after he cleared his waivers on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski this week.
It is not very difficult to understand why Jordan will be here and what they expect to do. Jordan’s career began with Clippers’ Doc Rivers, starting in the 2013-14 season, as Jordan formed part of the front line of Lob City, which was feasting, playing with point guard Chris Paul. Young DeAndre Jordan was a great sight, a great man with elite athleticism who could climb and finish almost anything you threw at him. In his only all-star season, the 2016-17 campaign, Jordan shot an incredible 71.4 percent off the field, his shots coming almost exclusively on the edge and after Jordan was going to hide behind one of the ball players in LA.
In theory, the acquisition of Jordan is easy for everyone on several fronts. A veteran who runs on wheels, he gives the Sixers a realized version of what you’d hope to get by playing one of their younger players, Paul Reed or Charles Bassie, without having to develop it further. If there is one thing James Harden can do, it is to take advantage of lob catcher in pick-and-roll, which he illustrates even while playing with down-to-earth Paul Milsap for the first three games of his Sixers term. In the reserve groups, Harden routinely achieves great success with the track to the edge and even with his athleticism, far from what he was before, Harden will put him in a very advantageous position.
The mistake in this logic is that Jordan’s production has declined, although he has played with better teammates than any player in the NBA in the last few years. If we discard the 19 games he played with the Knicks after the 2019 deadline, Jordan played with Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and finally LeBron James, four of the most talented offensive players in the league where crime has more. great firepower than ever. His raw production remained decent in the first season with the Nets in 2019-20, with Jordan providing some value as a bench, big behind Jarrett Allen.
He’s no longer with the Lakers (or the Nets, for that matter) as a result of what he’s looked like since. Once blessed with the tremendous ability for a second jump and pogo-jump jump from near stagnation, Jordan needs a little more space to take off nowadays, which is a problem due to the specifics of his attacking skills. On the one hand, Jordan will not try to do much in attack, except for the task assigned to him, so his blunders (one of which appeared that night) will not be as strong or frequent as they were with Andre Drummond. But that means he has to offer value as a graduate because you can’t expect him to do much else. This makes the physical decline more impactful and more appropriate for its value to Philly.
In defense, most people will accept that it offers a tangible improvement in the rim protection and bounce departments. His percentage statistics suggest that there may still be an impact rebound in the right context and Jordan will definitely grab the boards that are in his airspace, but his defensive approach has left much to be desired in the last two seasons. Effort is a constant problem, complicated by the loss of speed on the side, when it is charged to keep smaller / faster players in front of him. Questions about his defensive decline go back to his half-season run with the Mavericks in 2018-19 – you can find many videos of Jordan, simply ignoring any responsibilities in helping and laser focusing on the man and the area in front of him. No one has a greater responsibility in protecting than the rim tread and your guess is as good as mine as to whether he will withstand it or not.
This approach would be problematic for any team, but Jordan has more work to do in defense in Philadelphia than in most places. They don’t have much in the way of the protective steel coming from their bench, and Jordan will be asked to do a lot of cleaning up behind the other boys if they allow him to sit in cover. If they ask him to be part of a larger switch scheme, a style that Harden prefers and they played with the bench quite a bit in his early matches with Philly, there may be even bigger question marks.
The argument in favor of attracting Jordan defines Doc Rivers as something of a whisper to Jordan, the man who will straighten his head and make him commit to the plan for ensembles without Embiid. Of course, it seems that Harden must have at least some desire to play with him if he is introduced, because these are the units that no. 1 will ultimately manage and control. Counting on a return to high energy and a lot of effort Jordan seems questionable based on the fact that Jordan has joined his previous two teams, and both groups thought they would have a chance to fight (even if it seems silly in retrospect for these 2021- 22 Lakers). If Jordan could be seen routinely sending him mail and failing to move to a Brooklyn team with incredible expectations and great results with healthy everyone, it’s probably unrealistic to expect him to suddenly do it for your team, even if these Sixers are a good and fun team to be a part of right now. Jordan could hardly have made the Sixers a worse rebound team, and he will certainly put an end to some of the possessions the Sixers have otherwise squandered, although I have doubts about his or someone else’s ability to solve their problems there. Its foundations there are not entirely virgin, the hope is that it is large enough to tear off a few boards that would otherwise fall from opponents.
To be clear, none of the Sixers’ options in the backup five are or would be ideal, whether Jordan signs or not. Betting Reed or Basie to be a reliable option in this place in the playoffs this season would be quite dangerous, especially given the lack of constant time they have received throughout the season. Paul Milsap, as we discussed, looked pretty well prepared in his minutes so far.
The problem, as far as there is, is the reasonable expectation that this will put an end to any battle for the reserve central position. Lakers coach Frank Vogel told a news conference this week that Jordan’s resignation was to “give him the opportunity to play a bigger role elsewhere”, hinting that Jordan would essentially enter a guaranteed role for the Sixers. Giving him a chance is one thing, but the fear must be that no matter what Jordan offers, he will essentially be the option to ask and forget behind Embiid in the center. For this to be positive, he must reverse his career trends quite late in his life in the NBA.
If there is one person who will draw the best from Jordan at this stage of his career, it is a team with Harden leading the point and Rivers leading the way. The best case scenario is that Jordan regains his old enough form and is slightly encouraged in defense, doing enough to allow Harden to kill reserve units while Embiid dies. But that would definitely be a change of course from the trajectory it has been on for years. It is much closer to the average buy-in pickup than it is to reproduce Andre Drummond’s experience this season. Hope for the best, just don’t count on it.
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