The Los Angeles Lakers are in desperate need of filling out their roster after acquiring Anthony Davis. Last summer they signed JaVale McGee to a one-year deal and brought in Tyson Chandler. They also traded budding young prospect Ivica Zubac and gave minutes to rookies Jonathan Williams and Moe Wagner. A DeAndre Jordan signing will provide them more front-court stability if the plan isn’t to start Anthony Davis at the center spot.
Rumors about him joining the Lakers swirled around the trade deadline after a move from the Dallas Mavericks to the New York Knicks. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Lakers still have him on their radar.
Jordan eventually spent the latter portion of the year as a healthy scratch as the Knicks jockeyed for draft position.
While not the defensive force that he was earlier in his career, Jordan can give the Lakers great minutes rebounding. Last season he ended the year averaging 13.1 rebounds. This slotted him third in the league behind Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond. The Lakers ranked sixth in total rebounds and Jordan would continue to have them trend upward. Controlling the boards will be an integral part of their game-plan.
Shot blocking was once Jordan’s calling card, but he’s not that player anymore. Last year was one of his worse when he posted one block per game. Despite the regression there, the Lakers could rekindle his ability with the right addition to their perimeter depth. Combining his abilities with Davis is a definite plus. Enough funneling and communication will still allow him to make defenders think twice at the rim.
Floor spacing is always the focus around the league, but rim-running bigs are still useful. Jordan doesn’t have his insane athleticism from the Lob City days, but he’s still effective with his length and efficiency. He’s shot over 60 percent every year of his career, doing damage in the paint.
According to NBA.com, he shot 68.4 percent on shots in the restricted area. Those baskets consisted of 275 of his total 286 field goals made. Much of these consisted of alley-oop finishes, dunks off rebounds, and dump-offs. On shots less than five feet from the basket, he finished at 67.7 percent. With this, both LeBron James and AD’s passing ability becomes a dangerous weapon, reminiscent to how the Lakers used McGee last year.
DeAndre Jordan hits his free-throws now! Long ago, his woes called for rules on hacking as teams focused on his shooting late in the game. Last season he shot a career-high of 70.5 percent from the line. The Lakers were 29th in the league shooting free-throws. Bad shooting from the line means that you are giving teams an opportunity in transition. It takes away your chance to set up your defense. Bringing an improved free-throw shooting big helps in this aspect.
Jordan will be 31 years old in July, so he is of ideal age and experience to be a part of their short-term future. Experience is something you can’t underrate when building a contender. He brings six years of playoff appearances. He’s also durable. Aside from last year’s string of DNPs, Jordan has not missed more than five games since the 2009-10 season. The breaking point between the two could be what happens between the draft and free agency coupled with Jordan’s cost. If he is seeking big money, he may prove too much for the Lakers to acquire. If not, the Lakers can surely take advantage.