HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan leads the league with 3.08 blocks per game.
That’s a good thing, right? It certainly produces some great highlights…
The Clippers currently rank 25th defensively, allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions. When Jordan has been on the floor, they’ve only allowed 97.8, a rate that would rate them 10th in the league.
But whether or not Jordan has been on the floor, the Clippers have been a below-average defensive rebounding team, despite the length and athleticism of their frontline. They rank 20th in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 72.0 percent of available defensive boards. When Jordan is in the game, they’re grabbing 72.4 percent, still below the league average of 73.5 percent.
Jordan ranks 77th among players who have logged at least 125 minutes this season (53rd among players 6-foot-10 and taller) in individual defensive rebounding percentage. And when you watch him, you can see why.
Jordan clearly likes blocking shots, so much that he often takes himself out of rebounding position in an attempt to block a shot that he either doesn’t need to block or has no chance of blocking.
Here are a few examples…
Play 1: Dec. 28 at San Antonio
Blake Griffin stays in front of Tim Duncan on a slow drive to the basket, and Jordan leaves his man, DeJuan Blair, to help. Jordan alters Duncan’s shot, but Griffin was already there to contest it and Blair is alone under the basket to tip in the miss…
Play 2: Dec. 30 vs. Chicago
Griffin contains Derrick Rose on a pick-and-roll and is there to challenge Rose’s shot. But Jordan leaves Joakim Noah under the basket for a wild block attempt, which takes him all the way out to the elbow as Noah is getting his hands on the rebound…
Play 3: Jan. 1 vs. Portland
Brian Cook doesn’t exactly stop Jamal Crawford‘s drive, so Jordan comes from the weak side to help. But again, his block attempt is so wild, he takes himself out of rebounding position and takes Cook out of the play too. LaMarcus Aldridge is left under the basket to get his hands on the rebound…
Jordan isn’t always so undisciplined…
Play 4: Jan. 17 at Utah
This play is somewhat similar to Play 1 above, with Griffin defending Paul Millsap in the paint. But instead of chasing the play to try to block Millsap’s shot, Jordan stays at home on Al Jefferson. Griffin is able to challenge Millsap’s turnaround jumper, Jordan does a nice job of boxing out Jefferson, and the rebound is all his…
The Clippers need Jordan to protect the rim. But it’s clear that he can get too aggressive in trying to block shots. Further, 17 of Jordan’s 37 blocks have been rebounded by the opponent. And Clippers’ opponents have the fifth-highest rate of converting offensive rebounds into second-chance points.
Highest opponent rate, converting offensive rebounds
OppOREB = Opponent offensive rebounds
Opp2CP = Opponent second-chance points
League average = 1.13
Over the last four years, there has been a positive correlation between defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) and the percentage of their opponents shots that a team blocks. But the correlation is not as strong as the one between defensive efficiency and defensive rebounding percentage.
If Jordan can add some discipline to his defense, the Clippers would benefit. He’d be a more effective defender if he used his size and athleticism to become one of the league’s best rebounders, rather than one of its best shot-blockers.