DeAndre Jordan will officially become one of the most coveted unrestricted free agents on the market Wednesday. The 6-foot-11 center recently led the NBA in field goal percentage and rebounding for the second consecutive season—the first player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in the early 1970s—and has garnered interest from both Los Angeles franchises, Milwaukee, New York and Dallas.
Jordan is the top priority this offseason for Doc Rivers, and although the Clippers have usurped their way from basement-dweller-laughingstocks to relevant contenders in the last half decade, the franchise has yet to make the Western Conference finals.
Jordan is coming off the most dominant season of his career — setting career highs in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, offensive rating, defensive rating, player efficiency rating, and win shares.
But Jordan has a chance to be the marquee player on another roster.
Since he was selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA draft, Jordan has ballooned into the quintessential dunk-and-defend athlete—a founding father of Lob City. This season, Jordan finished atop the league’s regular season dunking leader board with 252 dunks; Tyson Chandler finished second with 179. Ironically, Jordan may be taking Chandler’s spot in the Dallas rotation next season.
Despite having a nonexistent offensive game outside of three feet, nor a deft hand from the free throw line, Jordan has been pivotal for the Clippers: Los Angeles went 40-15 last season when he had a double-double, and he kept the team buoyant when Blake Griffin went down with a staff infection in February.
This year, despite being left out of the NBA all-star game, Jordan was an all-NBA third team selection. He also had the ball, on average, for less than one minute per game (0.9 minutes)—a mark lower than other back-to-the-basket centers Nene, Roy Hibbert, Andrew Bogut, Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert and Dwight Howard. For context, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had the ball for an average of 2.7 minutes per game. Jordan had plenty of touches, but was often the fourth or fifth offensive option on the floor at any given point.
It’s uncertain whether Jordan has a deep-rooted desire to be the marquee player on any roster, but given his efficiency and record-breaking numbers, a chance of scenery and schema might vault his performance into an all-star tier.
Josh Planos has been published at the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Guardian, the Pacific Standard and VICE, among other publications. He has been heard on CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. Planos is currently a Digital Editor at KETV NewsWatch 7 and a freelance writer.