Which Clipper Benefits Most From DeAndre Jordan’s Return?
It all began with some night clubs and an upscale sushi feast.
Then things got really weird.
It’s been two and a half months since the DeAndre Jordan saga unfolded, yet the emotions still remain fresh. A couple of billionaires engaged in a frantic tug o’ war for the most coveted free agent center this offseason, and then, in a matter of hours, Jordan officially revived the dreams of one team while dumping the hopes of another.
With Jordan deciding to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, the team has retained one of the premier offensive starting lineups in the league. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and J.J. Redick are Jordan’s familiar allies on a team which ranked first in Offensive Rating last season (112.4). The Clippers will look to repeat that honor with the addition of veteran Paul Pierce, who averaged 11.9 points on 48% shooting last season.
There is no question that the Clippers would have been in a world of hurt had Jordan left town. Griffin would have lost a close friend, Paul would have lost a lob mate, and Redick would have given the team an offseason grade of F-minus (oh wait... that actually happened).
But which teammate would have missed Jordan the most?
Since I’m not a therapist, let’s answer that question from a statistical viewpoint.
Using NBAwowy, I compiled data pertaining to Jordan’s impact when he was on and off the court with Griffin, Paul, and Redick respectively.
Who benefited the most with DeAndre? And how did his presence impact each of the team's core players from last season?
It's a convenient argument to make that Jordan has cannibalized some of Griffin's production in recent seasons, and there's merit to that, especially before Griffin started improving his jump shot. But with Griffin's new approach in 2014-15, how did the splits actually look?
Without Jordan, Griffin improved his rebounds by more than 4.5 per 36 minutes as well as his blocks by a significant 0.39 in terms of per 36 minutes. But without Jordan on the floor, Griffin didn't score at a higher rate, and his assists took a pretty noticeable decline, probably because of the lost lob potential.
Even before seeing the numbers, we can probably expect that Paul's assists dipped without Jordan on the court last year, but how did it impact the rest of his numbers?
Without Jordan, Paul improved his points quite substantially -- by more than 7 per 36 minutes -- and his rebounds marginally. However, his assists nosedived (-2.88), and his steals dipped as well (-0.29).
In 2014-15, only one player -- Paul himself -- managed to maintain an average of 19 points and 10 assists per 36 minutes, and losing that type of production would be hard to replace. Then again just two players -- Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook -- posted at least 26 and 7 during the course of the year last year in terms of per-36 marks. No matter which way you slice it, Paul was amazing last year, but he's a different type of talent without his center.
Of the three, Redick is the most dependent on others to create his offense, but do the stats back it up when it comes to Jordan's presence?
Surprise! Without Jordan, the only category Redick sees improvement in is rebounding (by 0.76). Playing with Jordan, Redick put up better per-36 marks in points (5.94), assists (0.36), blocks (0.11), and steals (0.4).
I'd say we have a clear winner here.
Last season was a career year for both Jordan and Redick. Jordan led the league in rebounds per game (15.0) and field goal percentage (.710) while Redick posted personal bests in points (16.4), field goal percentage (.477), and 3-point field goal percentage (.437). Coincidence? I think not.
That F-minus grade makes even more sense now.