All things considered, things are going relatively well for DeAndre Jordan at the moment. Nearly five years removed from his lone All-Star Game appearance in 2017, the Los Angeles Lakers big man currently finds himself carving out a niche as a quick-hit pivot for the purple-and-gold crew.
It wasn’t too long ago, though, that things weren’t going so well for Jordan.
After beginning last season as the Brooklyn Nets’ starting center, the 33-year-old was later relegated to the bench by coach Steve Nash. Jordan would close out the 2020-21 campaign with 16 straight DNPs; that includes the entirety of the Nets’ playoff run.
While the benching was a first for Jordan — who had been one of the NBA‘s best defensive players and rebounders for a decade — he took the demotion in stride. And he was nonetheless able to secure a prime spot with the Lakers in the offseason, another team with title aspirations.
So when his former LA Clippers (and Nets) teammate, Blake Griffin, was similarly put into the corner, Jordan was one of the first people the one-time superstar spoke with.
Griffin Rides the Pine
After starting in 17 of the Nets’ first 18 games this season, Griffin was removed from the lineup by Nash. He wasn’t just bumped to the second unit, though. Much like Jordan in ’20-21, the former No. 1 overall pick was removed from the rotation entirely.
In the wake of the move, Jordan made a point to call on his Lob City partner-in-crime.
“DeAndre last year, he is a guy that I talked to that reached out,” Griffin revealed, via ESPN. “A lot of the guys from last year reached out. He did a really great job with it. I told him that. That is how I am going to try to do it as well.”
He added, “I have seen [and] have had great examples.”
So, what was the advice that Jordan and others gave him? To stay the course.
“Just be a professional and do exactly what you are supposed to do,” Griffin said. “It may sound like not good advice, but in this situation, everybody always needs to hear the right thing.”
Where They Are Now
To say that Griffin’s previous run, in Detroit from the winter of 2018 through last March, was rough would be an understatement. However, he had seemingly turned the page with the Nets last season. In 26 games with the club in ’20-21, he averaged 10 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He also connected on 38.3% of his triples.
This year, though, his effective field goal percentage has plummeted to a paltry 36.0 and he’s putting up just 5.5 points per contest.
As for Jordan, he’s making the most of the court time he has been given in LA. Per 36 minutes, he is scoring more points (12.7), grabbing more rebounds (15.6) and blocking more shots (2.3) than he did with the Nets last season. The latter number represents his best per-36 block rate since the 2015-16 campaign.
Jordan also boasts the Lakers’ fourth-best defensive rating at 104.2.
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