DeAndre Jordan came to the Sixers in March to replace Andre Drummond when the latter was sent to the Nets in the James Harden trade. Earlier in the season, Jordan was playing on the Los Angeles Lakers as a potential backup big man, but he was released from the Lakers after 32 games.
Joining the 76ers and reuniting with head coach Doc Rivers was, at best case scenario, a light rejuvenation for DeAndre as a backup center after he averaged a measly 4.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Lakers. Instead, DeAndre did more of the same for Philadelphia, averaging 4.6 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting a worse field goal percentage.
It’s pretty clear to everyone not named Doc Rivers that DeAndre Jordan is far from a playoff starter or even anything more than emergency playoff minutes, yet Doc Rivers continues to roll him out as the starter in Joel Embiid’s absence. In his first real playoff action this season, DeAndre was the starter in Game 1 versus the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs. In 17 minutes of play, DeAndre had four points, two rebounds, and two blocks. He also had a box plus/minus of -22 in those 17 minutes of play, while when he sat on the bench, the Sixers were +8. Not great for a veteran presence.
Paul Reed, on the other hand, or “the man who should be starting over DeAndre Jordan,” in just 13 minutes of play, scored the same amount of points while pulling five offensive rebounds and four defensive rebounds. Reed also added in 4 assists to his stat line, showing (once again) why he is superior to DeAndre Jordan at this point in their careers, especially in the playoff atmosphere. Despite both the eye test and the stats saying to give up on DeAndre, Doc continues to start him.
It’s clear to everyone, including a close friend to DeAndre, ex-Sixer JJ Reddick, that DeAndre isn’t fit to be a starter in the playoffs. Beyond just his lack of stats and his negative impact, his effort isn’t anywhere near where it used to be. All too often, he gives up on plays or forgets to box out, and for a rebound-eating big man, neither of these things really work in his favor. Yet, Doc still insists on using him. It’s now at the point where fans need to force Doc into using Paul Reed instead, similar to how Reed’s role expanded when the postseason began.
While Paul Reed isn’t a fix-all for the DeAndre Jordan problem (only Joel’s eventual return can solve that), DeAndre Jordan just clearly is not the answer. He is a shell of his former self, and while he may be a terrific locker room presence and mentor, he simply is not the player that the Philadelphia 76ers should be starting in any playoff series in 2022.