The Lakers’ signing of DeAndre Jordan has come with much criticism stemming from the fact that it seemingly came at the cost of Marc Gasol. While the Lakers’ decision to move on from the Spaniard was reportedly not tied to their acquisition of Jordan, his arrival will understandably be treated as such, fair or foul.
Regardless of the circumstances of his arrival, Jordan provides the Lakers with an element to their offense that they lacked with Gasol and Montrezl Harrell last season in vertical spacing. Jordan will set up shop around the rim on both sides of the floor, serving as a lob catcher on one end and a deterrent on the other.
Jordan spoke about his role for this upcoming season during his introductory press conference.
“I think that my role for any team that I’m on pretty much stays the same,” Jordan said. “I’m coming in to defend the basketball, try to change shots and alter shots at the rim, rebound the basketball, get my teammates open as best as possible and keep possessions alive for us, and be a great force on both ends of the basketball floor, and be a great locker room guy. That’s pretty much been my niche on every team that I’m on, and I’m excited to get here and get to work with these guys. Being able to have multiple lob threats again now with this team is going to be great, especially with the playmakers that we have and the unselfish guys that we have on this team, it’s going to be great.
“It lets you be able to space the floor a little bit with guys in the dunker spot and having multiple playmakers and shooters spaced. So I think at times we’re going to play big, I think at times we’re going to play small. I think it’s whatever the game is needing at that moment in time, I think we’re going to be able to adjust to that because we’re so versatile.”
The Lakers so badly desired a lob threat and vertical spacer that they chased Damian Jones, their 10-day in-season signing early in free agency before the Kings guaranteed his contract. Jordan’s buyout offered the Lakers a different player that offered the same skillset.
Jordan will be asked to replicate the role held by JaVale McGee from the 2019-20 season, which gives fans a blueprint of what to expect from Jordan this season. While he was a sometimes-frustrating player, McGee played an important role for the Lakers, eating up minutes at the center position throughout the regular season to keep Anthony Davis fresh for the playoffs, if nothing else.
While Father Time has more than begun taking its toll on Jordan’s game, limiting his explosiveness and skillset, he’s still able to contribute at a high level, particularly in the hyper-focused roles he’ll have with the Lakers. On both sides of the court, Jordan will be asked to operate around the rim, which should help him and the Lakers each excel.
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