DeAndre Jordan is one of the most highly coveted free agents this offseason, and is said to be meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Knicks, and Raptors. The 6'11, 250 pound center is a very legitimate center that could be the anchor of a defense. Jordan is said to be looking for a four-year maximum deal, with a player option after the third.
It would seem that Jordan to the Lakers would be an unlikely outcome, but if he is attainable, he is the ideal free agent for the Lakers.
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Let's start with the rim protection. This is the primary value that Jordan would bring to the Lakers. One of the things that was often discussed heading into the NBA Draft was the idea that Jahlil Okafor might not have been the best fit next to Randle, as neither would likely provide much rim protection. Pairing Randle with Jordan, however, would not only give the Lakers two quick and athletic frontcourt players that might be able to defend with switches on pick-and-rolls rather well, but also gives the Lakers the anchor their defense so desperately needs.
Of course, Jordan also provides elite rebounding. While this isn't necessarily a must-have at the center position for the Lakers (Randle should do more than his fair share of rebounding, even at 6'9), it's still a bonus to have, and can generate extra possessions, with Jordan snagging about five offensive rebounds a game.
Jordan posted 11.5 points, 15 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and one steal, all while shooting 71 percent from the floor. Needless to say, the things that jump out are the rebounding and rim protection. Jordan is the only player in the league to post similar numbers, and is the only one that posted 10 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks per game in the NBA.
I always advocate for obtaining players that are fun, in addition to being good. DeAndre Jordan certainly fits that billing. As I'm sure everyone knows, he dunks. A lot. The average distance on his field goal attempts this year was 1.2 feet, according to Basketball-Reference. He definitely will be able to run in transition with the young core of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Randle. Adding Jordan to the Lakers would not only give them an increasingly promising core to build off of, but would additionally provide some exciting highlight plays.
However, it also comes with his free throw shooting, which, at least as of now, will be able to be exploited intentionally with the Hack-A-Shaq strategy. As mentioned earlier, he only shot 39.7 percent from the free-throw line. What he in the restricted area, however, might make up for it:
Pretty simple shot chart. He shoots near the basket, and he finishes. However, Jordan reportedly is interested in an increased role on offense, which could be a little problematic. Mainly, there's the glaring issue with his free-throw shooting. Even if Jordan develops more of a post game, defenders will always have the option of fouling him if he gets in too deep or makes a nice move to the rim. His best bet for both his team and his individual success is to continue to thrive in pick-and-rolls, especially now that the Lakers have two young guards that can operate them. Of course, there is also a risk of Jordan's decline in effectiveness, both because of a potentially larger role in an offense, and once you take him away from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
DeAndre Jordan has his flaws but ultimately if the Lakers could pick and choose, Jordan should be their top free agent target. He fulfills a need both now and a bit further down the line, as he's turning just 27 years old in July. He's certainly more of a natural fit as a frontcourt pairing to Randle than Aldridge is, though the Lakers would gladly welcome either with open arms. Should the Lakers miss out on both Jordan and Aldridge, the Lakers might want to turn their attention to B-list big men, such as Robin Lopez, Tyson Chandler, Brandan Wright or perhaps retaining Ed Davis. We'll have plenty of more coverage throughout the free agency process.
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