Last season, DeAndre Jordan shot 71 percent from the field, the second-highest field goal percentage ever for a regular season (350 shot minimum), trailing only the legendary Wilt Chamberlain’s 72.7 percent in 1973.
He’s at it again.
Jordan is currently shooting 71.5 percent from the floor this season, which has slipped a little from 73 percent a couple of weeks ago. Which is to say, Jordan is again in the hunt for an impressive record.
The secret to Jordan’s success is simple — the man stays in his lane. This season 88.2 percent of his shots have come in the restricted area, where he shoots 77.1 percent. To be more clear, 53.1 percent of his shot attempts are dunks. He’s finishing lobs from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and he’s using his athleticism to make sure his shots are right at the rim even in post ups. He doesn’t have the need to show off his midrange game (which he doesn’t have).
Jordan also is having his best defensive season — Doc Rivers has touted him for Defensive Player of the Year in the past, but it wasn’t warranted (he took plays off and the Clips rebounding when he sat was almost as good as when he played). This season Doc would be right, Jordan has been improved as an off-ball defender and paint protector in the Clippers new defensive system. As an illustration, using ESPN’s real plus/minus defensive numbers (an advanced adjusted +/- stat measuring a players’ impact on the court adjusting for variables such as teammates and who the player goes against), Jordan is second in the NBA this season (to Tim Duncan) in defensive impact. He was 37th a year ago, but his impact on the Clippers defense is much greater this season.
All of which is to say, Jordan is earning that massive new contract that created all the drama this summer. Now we’ll see if he can catch Wilt.