https://medium.com/the-cauldron/show-him-the-money-adf6905466b9The word gets overused a lot, but when DeAndre Jordan entered the NBA Draft out of Texas A&M back in 2008, he was raw as hell. His college production didn’t nearly match his hype — he was the nation’s No. 8 recruit as a high school senior — especially considering his ridiculous combination of size and athleticism.
Initially projected to go as high as the top 10 in the draft, concerns about his “bust potential” dropped him all the way into the second round, at No. 35 to the Clippers. His first two seasons in L.A. also had their share of adversity. He barely saw the floor as a rookie on a 19–63 team, only got some increased minutes once Mike Dunleavy was replaced by interim coach Kim Hughes the following season, and generally paired up-and-down defense with a still-very-much-developing offensive game.
Since the 2010–11 season, though — when Jordan finally got a shot at real minutes — everything has changed. It’s been a gradual process, but he’s slowly but surely turned himself into one of the best bigs in the league.
Over that span, Jordan has missed only two games. (He’s now the NBA’s active leader in consecutive games played.) That kind of durability is remarkably uncommon for a big man, especially one who throws his body around as much as Jordan does. His per-minute efficiency, on-off court numbers and contribution to wins have also improved with each season.
After Jordan showcased his enormous potential in that breakthrough 2010–11 campaign, Golden State saw fit to use their one-time amnesty on Charlie Bell in order to offer Jordan a four-year, $43 million offer sheet. The Clippers, knowing just how valuable their asset was — a 23-year old center who could jump out of the gym and was getting stronger and more powerful with each passing day — predictably matched the Warriors’ offer within 24 hours.
Angeles traded for Chris Paul and Lob City was born.