Shortly after the news broke of the Lakers waiving DeAndre Jordan, rumors ran rampant of the Philadelphia 76ers pursuing the veteran center.
After the inclusion of Andre Drummond in the James Harden deal, the Sixers’ backup center depth has been weakened. Newly-acquired Paul Millsap, in his short tenure with the team, has not proven to be effective. Meanwhile, rookie Charles Bassey and former G League MVP Paul Reed have sporadically displayed their upside.
Unfortunately, Doc Rivers has not given either of the youthful big men a legitimate opportunity to claim the backup center role. The two have appeared in less than half of the games. This recently caused Daryl Morey to sign 28-year old Willie Cauley-Stein to a ten-day contract in an attempt to find an adequate lob threat with rim protection and rebounding abilities.
That particular skill set may have just emerged as available. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Los Angeles Lakers intend to waive DeAndre Jordan. Also, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers will be in an aggressive pursuit of the backup center. The 33-year old Jordan has accumulated less-than-stellar averages in recent years in increasingly diminishing roles. However, Jordan already has a relationship with Rivers, having spent five years together as part of the “Lob City” Clippers.
In those five seasons of his prime, Jordan averaged 33.3 minutes per game, along with 11.9 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. This season, in a majority backup role, the aging dunker has tallied 4.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in less than 13 minutes per game. Of his 60 made field goals this season, 28 have been alley-oops. It could be argued that, given a better situation, Jordan could be slightly more effective than his averages show.
In his two games with the Sixers, James Harden has already displayed his ability to elevate his teammates’ level of play. Notorious for his methodical pick-and-rolls, Harden could benefit greatly from Jordan’s potential Philly arrival. While Joel Embiid rests, Rivers could focus the offense around Harden-Jordan pick-and-rolls, with Jordan playing the role of Rockets-era Clint Capela.
Wojnarowski’s report further proves Morey’s intentions of finding a rim-running center to fill the Drummond-shaped hole on the Sixers bench. The presence of pick-and-roll maestro James Harden and Jordan’s former coach in Philly provides rational justification for the potential signing.
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