DeAndre Jordan is actually a Dallas Maverick now. It’s official, he’s signed and in training camp. And it would be pretty hard to back out after this taking photo.
Caption that! #ThisIsWhyWePlay #NBAMediaDay pic.twitter.com/BesUdnYoQq— NBA (@NBA) September 22, 2018
So what exactly should we be expecting from him? Just a season ago, he was an All-Star and All-NBA 3rd Team. He also just turned 30, he’s changing teams for the first time in his career, and last season without Chris Paul some of his numbers dropped fairly significantly.
Jordan is also in a contract year. Does Jordan want to stay in Dallas or is he trying to leverage a situation to get a long term deal?
These are both interesting questions, but they’re not the biggest question surrounding Dallas’ new big man.
This season for the Mavericks revolves around Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. The young duo not only holds the key for the Mavs present success but future relevance as well. And because of that, the biggest question surrounding DeAndre Jordan is: how much easier does he make life for Dennis and Luka?
Jordan has several elite, very distinguishable skills that will help the young Mavericks in their first and second years in the NBA.
Since Jordan’s rookie year (2008-09), the Mavericks have only had a player grab 20+ rebounds in a game seven times, 15+ rebounds in a game 74 times, and double digit rebounds in a game 572 times. DeAndre Jordan has grabbed 20+ rebounds in a game 53 times, 15+ rebounds in a game 189 times, and double digit rebounds in a game 432 times since entering the NBA—by himself.
The Mavericks haven’t had a player that can rebound like Jordan since Roy Tarpley for half a season in the late 80s and Dennis Rodman for a cup of coffee in the late 90s. Rebounds equal possessions and possessions equal more chances for Dennis and Luka.
Per Synergy, Jordan is also still a very effective defender. On a scale of poor to excellent, Jordan rated “very good” defending the pick & roll, “very good“ defending spot up attempts, and excellent defending post up attempts. Holding his ground and sliding over to bring help will erase some lapses Dennis and Luka will assuredly have on defense.
Smith is going to be especially happy to have Jordan on his side of plays like this.
Last season 212 of Jordan’s 373 shots were dunks. He’s sort of one dimensional in terms of shot selection, but there’s more than one way to set up a dunk the NBA.
Jordan’s such a threat around the rim it causes problems for any help defender. It’s easy to imagine Dennis Smith Jr. taking Lou Williams’ place in this play, beating his defender off the dribble, pulling the big man, and throwing a lob up to Jordan while Barnes, Matthews, and Doncic spread the floor.
When Dennis beats his defender off the dribble, Jordan’s defender is going to have the same decision Kevin Love made on this play. Unless there’s enough extra help defense, Dennis or DeAndre will be open for a high percentage shot.
Jordan will also bring a stable and consistent presence in the starting lineup for the Mavs. He’s been incredibly durable, over the last eight years of his career he’s only missed 13 total games and averaged 30 minutes per game in that time. In that same time frame, the Mavs have only had 1 center play 80 or more games in a single season and Salah Mejri has played the most total games of any center the Mavs have had (168).
Best Case Scenario
Again, just one season ago Jordan was elected to both the All-Star Team and the All-NBA 3rd Team. In 2015-16 he was 1st Team All-NBA and 1st Team All-Defense. If Carlisle’s wizardry can help exploit Jordan’s strengths like he did with Tyson Chandler. it’s not hard to imagine Jordan could get back on one of the All-Defensive Teams.
In 2016-17 the Mavs were ranked 15th in the NBA in defensive rating and in 2017-18 they were ranked 18th. Dirk was the starting center for those teams. Adding Jordan could very well vault the Mavs into the Top 10 in defensive rating and those teams are almost always playoff teams (Every team in the Top 10 made the playoffs last season).
Worst Case Scenario
There isn’t a ton of variance with Jordan. He’s been relatively the same player since Lob City was formed. So if he’s committed and buys into the system then everything should be positive. But when a big man’s athleticism starts to slip, it goes fast. Is this the year we start to see some regression? Another scenario could include Jordan trying to leverage the Mavs for another opportunity in a contract year. Jordan only attempted post-ups less that one time per game last season and Synergy gave him a “poor” rating for his attempts. If we start to see Jordan demand the ball down low and try and pad his stats, that could mean trouble.
But Jordan is a much needed addition to a Mavericks team that has desperately needed someone to do the things that he does really well. If all goes according to plan Deandre Jordan is only going to make life easier for Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic.
Shoutout to Basketball-Reference, NBA.com/stats, and Synergy for statistics.