Clippers’ Jordan Relishing USA Basketball Summer, Fresh Start In L.A.



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LAS VEGAS – DeAndre Jordan didn’t waste his time with the trade rumors that kicked off his summer. He had more important things on his mind, work to do and progress to make no matter what name was on the front of his jersey.

Jordan is still the Los Angeles Clippers’ center. He never made it to Boston, where he was rumored to be heading in a deal that would have included Kevin Garnett, had it ever come to fruition.

This week, there are just three letters splattered across his chest: U-S-A. And Jordan couldn’t be happier with his current assignment, as one of several standout young big men in USA Basketball’s minicamp for the Men’s Senior National Team, or the one that awaits back in Los Angeles with the Clippers and new coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers has already stated that he’s going to raise the bar of expectations for both Jordan and All-Star forward Blake Griffin in every facet imaginable, and that’s something Jordan said he’s looking forward to in his sixth NBA season.

“Once I talked to Doc, I knew what kind of season we were going to have because Doc is definitely a player’s coach,” Jordan said. “He definitely gives you that confidence. I talked to him on the phone for about 15 or 20 minutes that first time and I hung up and I was confident. I was like, ‘yeah, we’re going to win it.’ He’s such a great motivator. I can’t wait to get to work with him.”

The more intriguing prospect is for Rivers, who will be working again with a young and rugged big man still in the early stages of his career the way Kendrick Perkins was in Boston when Rivers took over there. But Jordan is off-the-charts athletically and has the potential to be a defensive menace and a rebounding machine under the tutelage of a coach like Rivers.

He’s drawn the praise of many observers here, including U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, for his energy and nonstop motor. While no one is playing for an actual spot on a team that will compete this summer, the big man action has been fast and furious in each and every drill and scrimmage.

It’s exactly what Jordan said he needed, this minicamp that feels a lot like a boot camp, an environment that will push him to the max.

“When you are working at home, and no disrespect to them, but guys who are in college or playing overseas or whatever,” Jordan said. “But being here with USA Basketball, this is straight NBA guys or guys you know you’ll see in the league down the road, top of the line, the best young guys in the league and competition everyday. Me playing against DeMarcus CousinsAnthony DavisAndre DrummondDerrick FavorsTyler ZellerGreg Monroe and Larry Sanders is something I can’t get at home.”

The feeling is mutual.

“He’s absolutely right,” Favors said. “This is the ultimate environment for a big man or any young player. You get a chance to go against the best of the best. You don’t get a second to rest out here. You back off for a moment and somebody is pushing you out of the way. We’re all pushing each other.”

The pushing and shoving will continue for Jordan the minute he leaves here. The work doesn’t end when you’re bent on redeeming yourself for being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the way the Clippers were against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“We’re solid on paper, but we have to build that chemistry up,” Jordan said. “We’ve got most of our regulars back but we’ve added J.J. [Redick], Jared Dudley and guys like that, just signed B.J. Mullens. We have to get that chemistry and come together a little bit. We’ve just got to get to work.”

As for his own development, Jordan has improved steadily. He had his best year yet last season, averaging a career-high 8.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 1.4 bpg in just 24.5 mpg.

That won’t cut it next season, not with Rivers and Chris Paul demanding more and more from the frontcourt tandem of Griffin and Jordan.

“I feel like my progression has been, well, steady. I don’t think I’m going up and down or taking any steps back,” he said. “It might not be as fast as some people want it to be. But as long as i feel like I’m getting better and my teammates feel like I’m getting better and taking the right steps, I’m happy with where I am and the work I’m doing to get to that next level.”

21 Comments

  1. mayor jv says:

    guards-cp3,drose,stephcurry,harden,westbrook
    forwards-james,george,durant,love,griffin
    center-howard,davis

  2. BigR7621 says:

    Deandre was totally misused last year by Vinny, he wasted his early season development and good play by cutting his minutes to get Lamar Odom in shape. Then Lamar gave them nothing offensively and less toughness than Reggie Evans the year before. Everyone criticizes Dj’s numbers relative to his contract but this was really only his 3rd year actually playing and he only got 24 minutes a game. Give him a consistent 30 to 35 minutes and 9 points 8 rebounds turns into a double double every night.

  3. Jim Robbins says:

    Please don’t add Kobe (The most over-rated player in NBA history) to any list. Lebron and KD are off the charts. I’m sorry, but Jordan is a terrific athlete. With the right training, he could be a Russell type of center (remember, Russell wasn’t a great scorer). Once he starts dominating the paint on defense and rebounds, the Clippers will fly. With Paul leading the way, Griffin playing a different role, and the new 3-point shooters that were added, I’m starting to salivate over next season! No miracles needed here, just hard work and good training, and Rivers can do that.

  4. ac says:

    What is this “Fresh Start in LA” business? The guys been underperforming with the Clippers for 5 seasons now and I’ve got news for you, Doc Rivers is no miracle worker. He’s a great coach, but Jordan is a mediocre, overpaid player. He got really lucky because the CBA regulations weren’t in effect when he signed his contract, but in today’s market he’s worth the mini mid-level exception and not a penny more.

  5. Dallas fan says:

    PG Chris Paul , Derrick Rose
    SG Kobe Bryant, James Harden
    SF Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony
    PF Lebron James, Kevin Love
    C. Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert
    Reserve Russell Westbrook, Kylie Irving

    KABOOM!!!!!!!!

    • Don't ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! You Have been warned says:

      Steve Nash
      Luke Ridnour
      Kevin Love
      Kyle Singler
      David Lee

      KABOOOM!

  6. great article on deandre……he’s very likeable and has a ton of talent…..clipper nation cant wait for the games to begin.

  7. Jrich says:

    why is hibbert not on the usa team. if he plays like he did in the playoffs no one in the nba can stop him. let alone other countries

    • Pakyaw says:

      Coz they’re not gonna put a 6’8 foot guy(haslem) to guard hibbert ..he’s not that good u think he is..

  8. B Radd says:

    Cousins and Sanders is all they need at the 5 spot for FIBA World Championships. I’d look to add Dwight at the Olympics.

    2016 Olympics USA Mens Basketball should look like this:

    PG Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving

    SG Russell Westbrook and James Harden

    SF Labron James and Kevin Durant

    PF Anthony Davis and Larry Sanders

    C Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond

    At Starting Positions…

    PG Derrick Rose
    SG Russell Westbrook
    SF Labron James
    PF Kevin Durant
    C Dwight Howard

    • Dan says:

      the lineup for 2016.. PG still belongs to Chris Paul… SG for Russel Westbrook? u kidding me?? kevin durant on PF??? man… u know your basketball…..

      2016 linesup is still Christ PAul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kevin Durants, Kevin Loves and Dwight Howard.

      • B Radd says:

        Now now calm down angry Dan, let me explain why I chose Westbrook at the SG position. Kobe would be the obvious choice but father time is already knocking at his door. D Wade will be done before his time is up and we all loss Brandon Roy before his time even begun. Harden is the ideal choice but FIBA RULES rule in Russell’s favor because he has the physical strength and the perfect height against most likely, smaller opponents at the SG position. Harden can come in and change the momentum which is a quality needed off the bench. Not very many players can do what Harden did with the Thunder. Name another SG you’d put before Harden to keep Harden out of the starting lineup and instead, coming off the bench where he would be more efficient in an all-star lineup. I did not include CP3 because Rose will be at his prime and Rose is an NBA Most Valuable Player. Rose is that good. But with Westbrook already in my lineup, I had to pick a pure shooter and is why I pushed CP3 out and Stephen Curry in. CP3 would be in my lineup but Kyrie is emerging into another Hybrid PG that can setup plays or shoot at will.

        Lebron is my SF because he’s Lebron. Name another player international or domestic you’d put in front of Lebron at 1st string…

        Why KD at Power Forward? Well lets just say, my experience playing bball subliminally tells me that not all Power Forwards have to be of brute strength. Horace Grant was a smart power forward as was Robert Horry. And besides, Dwight is there and so would DeMarcus as his backup but that could change at a split second depending on how fast Cousins trasitions from that kid who refuses to grow up to I’m ready for the next level. If Karl Malone was still available or even Tim Duncan who is the best PF I’ve ever seen play at the 4, then I’d choose them to start in front of KD.

        Sorry but I cannot add CP3, Carmelo or Kevin Love because they’re game is set as starters and I chose mine to compete at the international level.

        With Russell and Rose in the starting lineup it would be a defenders nightmare. KD would stretch the floor leaving Dwight and Lebron as the cleanup crew. Yeah… Buddy I think I do know my basketball…

    • maciejlord says:

      Labron, r u sure? Come on!

      • bernycacay says:

        common… seriously? you put Carmelo as SG! 2016 Olympics First Five Line-UP (If healthy): PG C.Paul, SG D.Wade, SF L.James, PF K.Durant & D.Howard… I’m aware that it is a bit difficult on the PF position because KD is not really PF he is more SF, but you cannot take out the raining MVP and champs. I was also in favor of K.Love as PF or C.Anthony. If D.Wade is healthy, the dynamic between him and LBJ is unstoppable. Though, there is still lots of elite players that we can put in this line-up. For me, this will work.

      • haha says:

        HA @Dan you have 6 guys starting, I never knew you can do that?

  9. Gillsy says:

    I agree Jordan has never had a coach who can get the most out of him. Remember how Tyson Chandler was before he really learnt how to play. With Doc the Celtics had success similar to that of the Spurs with picking up middle to late first rounders and making solid players out of them, by developing their strengths and working on their weaknesses.

  10. Common Sense says:

    Do it DJ!
    The only thing holding you back from being one of the best big men ever is you!
    I’ve never seen a big man as athletic than you, and shooting free throws is a skill developed over time from seeing the ball go through the net over and over. You’ll get better every year and everyone will forget the past quickly!
    Listen to Doc, he’ll work on your weaknesses and you will be unstoppable by the middle of next year, period!

  11. 007 says:

    Our bigs are looking pretty solid going into the big dance. A squad with Drummond, Jordan,Cousins, and Davis would have a dominant paint presence that was missing with only one true center and one true power forward on the roster for “Team Elite” and still brought back home the Gold.

    Wouldn’t even be suprised to see Coach K go to more conventional lineups instead of the common hybrid lineups nowadays.

  12. bballfan247 says:

    Great article. It’s interesting to me Coach K praised Jordan’s motor… Something others have called into question. Possibly coaching scheme he was in. When I watched the Clippers in person last year I was displeased with Del Negri’s nonpresence as a coach. If Jordan can fill the role of consummate rebounder, shot blocker, lane clogger, and pick and roller on offense in Docs system then Thunder, Warriors, Grizzlies, & Spurs beware… Um back to your article “He’s such a great motivation” or motivator.