Sixers: Ranking backup center options ahead of playoffs

DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Ranking the Sixers’ backup centers — 3. DeAndre Jordan

Let’s try to give Doc Rivers the benefit of the doubt here. He has experience coaching Jordan in LA. Jordan has experience playing next to James Harden in Brooklyn, which is important considering Harden’s need for a vertical outlet on drives to the rim. There’s pre-established chemistry there. Jordan is also experienced, with multiple All-NBA nods on his resumé. It’s hard to deny the name.

That said, Jordan should probably not be the Sixers’ only option at backup center, which seems to be Doc Rivers’ current stance. It’s all Jordan and nothing but Jordan behind Embiid, when in reality, Rivers should at least be using every tool in his tool shed.

Jordan is currently shooting 45.0 percent in six games with Philadelphia. That, my friends, is an outlier. A slump. He shot 67.4 percent across 32 games (and 19 starts) in Los Angeles, and common logic would suggest Jordan gets back into the 60+ range in due time. That should make him much more palatable to the fanbase. Jordan’s immense struggles finishing the ball simply will not continue.

That said, even if Jordan regains form offensively, his lack of versatility on defense is a major thorn in Philadelphia’s side. He’s too slow to guard quicker fives in space, and his poor rotations leave Philadelphia susceptible at the rim. He will get a highlight block every now and then, and he’s certainly the best rebounder in the second unit (no small distinction considering the Sixers’ persistent lack of rebounding elsewhere on the roster), but Jordan will get torched in the playoffs. There is a reason both Brooklyn and Los Angeles — two teams aspiring to the level of “contenders” — have moved away from Jordan in consecutive seasons.