After struggling in the 2012 playoffs, DeAndre Jordan hopes to showcase his improved game this season.
By RAHSHAUN HAYLOCKFS West
LOS ANGELES - Last season the
Clippers enjoyed one of the most memorable postseason runs in franchise history.
DeAndre Jordan did not.
The Clippers' four-year center averaged 4.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and shot 52.5 percent from the field in the 2012 postseason. All of the numbers were lower than his regular-season averages.
It has been an offseason that has included a diet of post moves and free throws for the 44 percent career free-throw shooter.
"(I've been) working on my (offensive) game a lot," Jordan said. "I've got with (Clippers assistant coach Marc) Iavaroni and a number of other coaches and ex-players, just trying to improve my game as much as possible to help us out this upcoming season."
An overwhelming 193 of his 227 field goals during the 2011-12 season, including the playoffs, were at the rim, according to basketball-reference.com.
Jordan was third in the league in dunks last season behind teammate Blake Griffin and Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee. However, Jordan converted just 42.6 percent of his field goals from 3-9 feet, including, going 1-for-9 in the playoffs from that distance.
Opposing defenses will continue to dare Jordan to shoot the ball and during the upcoming season, he hopes to make them pay.
"(I'll take) whatever the defense gives me," Jordan said. "If I get a jump shot then I'm going to take it. I feel comfortable shooting the ball."
Both Jordan and the Clippers had a busy summer. The club re-signed guard Chauncey Billups, who missed 46 games in the lockout-shortened season after tearing his left Achilles' tendon. Griffin also was signed to a five-year extension.
The team also made moves to bolster its bench, acquiring 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Lamar Odom, from the Dallas Mavericks and also wing Willie Green from Atlanta – both via trade.
The Clippers signed veteran forward Grant Hill, another former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford (2010), former Laker Ronny Turiaf and former UCLA center Ryan Hollins. With point guard Eric Bledsoe already in the fold, the group, on paper, has the makings of the best bench in the NBA.
"I believe that. I definitely believe that," Jordan said.
The Clippers center said he is looking forward to seeing how the team gels and the new guys get acclimated to head coach Vinny Del Negro's system. He's also excited about the Hallway Series and matching up with LA's newest big man, Dwight Howard.
"I'm happy he got (traded)," Jordan said. "I'm happy for him. It's big for LA. It's big for the league. It's going to be some great matchups this year.
"It's going to be great."
The first regular-season matchup between the teams is Nov. 2 in the Lakers' home opener.
With Howard rumored not to be available until possibly December following back surgery, Jordan may have to wait until Jan. 4.
After all the offseason work, Jordan will get to show off his improved game when the Clippers open the regular season at home on Halloween against the Grizzlies.