DeAndre Jordan is playing the best basketball of his life and is taking the league by storm, so what does the LA Clippers star have to do to make the All-Star team?
With Anthony Davis pulling out of the All-Star weekend through a shoulder injury, most people expected Jordan to get the call up. However, Commissioner Adam Silver decided to bring veteran Dirk Nowitzki into the Western Conference team instead.
Jordan has had a monster week and his 24 points and 20 rebounds against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday was his third game in the past eight days that featured 20 points and 20 rebounds. The big man also had 24 points and a career-high 27 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.
Snub comes as a surprise
The decision to ignore Jordan came as a shock to people around the league but no one was more outraged than LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers calling the snub a “travesty.”
"I think D.J. should be on the all-star team," Rivers said to ESPN. "I think it's travesty. I really do. Dirk deserves to be on the All-Star team every year as far as I'm concerned, so you can never have anything against him. He's been a great player throughout his career, I just think that a guy who is getting 27 [rebounds] and 22 [points vs. Dallas on Monday] and 20s and 20s [should] be on the team."
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Close to creating history
Jordan currently leads the league in rebounding and field goal percentage with 13.8 boards per game and a 72.5 field goal percentage. If he manages to finish the season with over 72.7%, it will create NBA history by breaking the great Wilt Chamberlain record set in the 1972-73 season. Clearly Jordan is not the player Wilt was, but he is having a remarkable season.
Add in the big man’s 2.35 blocks per game and Jordan is well on the way to collecting the Defensive Player of the Year award.
"What I keep saying about D.J., that you don't like is you play both sides of the floor," Rivers said. "Just one side of the floor keeps getting all of the credit, and not the other side of the floor. And the other side is more important. There's never been a team that's won a title without being a decent defensive team or a great great defensive team yet that side keeps getting forgotten about in the All-Star Game."
"I think every year they should put the best defender on. They put the best offensive player on every year. They should think about putting the best defensive player on -- on both sides, the East and the West. Then it would be solved and easy but D.J. should be on and we all know that,” added the Clippers coach.
Sticking to his strengths
Jordan’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider his job on the court. Rivers asked the 6ft 10in giant to be a defensive machine and not to worry about scoring points - Jordan has done exactly that.
The Clippers rarely run a play for Jordan. If you said to any player in the league that no set-plays would be run for them, 99% would react with disgust. However, Jordan has reacted admirably and like a true professional. He does not worry about getting points, he just takes them when they are available - a true team player.
”Next year I probably have to average 20 points per game and maybe it will be something that they look at. I’m happy for Dirk. He deserves to be an All-Star. At this point there's nothing I can do about it. I've accepted it and moved on. It's cool," said Jordan following the snub.
League's top rebounder
Since Blake Griffin had his elbow surgery, Jordan has stepped up his game knowing too well that L.A will miss Griffin’s impressive contributions. As a result, Jordan is crashing the glass like he never quite has before.
Whether it’s a 50-50 or a 90-10 in the opponents favour, Jordan is going all out to make a strong attempt to grab the rebound.
Jordan goes out and puts in a stellar performance every game and has actually played 294 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
Nowitzki is one of the best players to ever play in the league and you could easily argue that he deserves his spot on the roster.
“But that's all right; D.J. knows we're playing for bigger things than All-Star games,” said Rivers.
However, the All-Star game is all about entertainment. Dirk can do some incredible things with a basketball as can the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and the Gasol brothers but do they really depict the All-Star game?
They are some of the best shooters in the league but a strong argument can be made that the fans want highlight-reel slam dunks and plays that you would not see on a regular night in the NBA.
In a sense Dirk and co deserve their spot as they are phenomenal players but what Jordan does on the court is incredible and the things he would do in an All-Star game would be amazing to watch.
Unfortunately for us, Jordan will be watching from home instead of amazing us in New York. There is always next year I guess.