DeAndre That Got Away…
Last night, in what could be classified as must-see TV, the Clippers faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game that stirred up an incredible amount of anticipation. Indeed, with Chris Paul officially a Clipper, his debut would come against the team that acquired him by trade only to later find out that the transaction had been blocked by the NBA.
And although Paul’s debut was the obvious storyline, Warriors fans were instead left on the outside looking in at the athletic defensive big man that escaped their grasp.
Golden State’s front office had attempted to acquire the talents of DeAndre Jordan when they extended an offer sheet to him last week.
Although Jerry West was not necessarily in favor of the move, Jordan presented an interesting array of basketball skills. The Clippers center has an exceptional leaping ability that intersects perfectly with his impressive wingspan. Consequently, he can just about reject any shot that comes his way and also dunk the ball on just about anyone. In addition, the big man has a good pair of hands, which allow him to catch balls in traffic and finish.
His poor free throw shooting make him a candidate to avoid contact at the basket occasionally, but make no mistake about it, Jordan rarely tries to finesse the ball in; instead he is more than willing to throw it down on an opposing big man and bring down the rain and thunder as he does it.
In a Warriors uniform, Jordan would have deterred opponents from driving to the rim and would have helped ignite the fast break with his rebounding and quick outlet passes. But more than anything, having Monta or Steph come down the lane and dish off to the big man for strong finishes would have routinely created a raucous crowd at Oracle arena.
But given the fact that the Clippers matched the Warriors’ offer sheet, that dream is now a distant memory.
Instead, last night I watched in amazement as DeAndre Jordan dunked on both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The dunk was so vicious that the most ardent Lakers supporters sat there and said “wow that was crazy”. And then for good measure, Jordan caught an insanely high alley-oop pass from Chris Paul and finished over Luke Walton (who fouled him but was never actually whistled) for a dunk that let the Staples Center crowd know that the Clippers were definitely in the building.
Even on defense, Jordan rejected shots by Darius Morris and Kobe Bryant to help ignite fast breaks for the Clippers.
When it was all over, Lob City defeated the Lakers by 19 points thanks in large part to the play of their backcourt; but it should not be forgotten that the big men not only showed flash, but also a lot of substance.
And one of them should have been a Warrior…
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