Sixers who have to improve vs. Heat in Game 2: DeAndre Jordan
Sigh. We shouldn’t really be in this position. The Sixers never should have signed DeAndre Jordan, and more than that, Doc Rivers never should have invested so many games in Jordan as the solution to Philadelphia’s post-Drummond backup center woes. Paul Reed is the best center on the roster outside Embiid, but because of foul trouble, Doc and company are prepared to start Jordan again in Game 2 — whether we like it or not.
That being said, the Sixers just need more from Jordan. He can’t look like the worst player in the NBA again. Jordan’s limitations are unavoidable. He’s not going to suddenly defend in space or make an outsized impact on offense, but the Sixers should at least hope for some effort on the defensive end. Jordan looked like a wooden board for most of Monday night’s loss — he didn’t move his feet, didn’t rotate over to deter cutters, didn’t contest rebounds, nothing. Doc Rivers praised Jordan’s rebounding after Game 1, but he pulled down two rebounds in 17 minutes. Jordan was legitimately terrible on the glass. He didn’t box out and gave up several uncontested offensive rebounds to the scrappier Heat.
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Jordan is probably the weakest defender on the Sixers’ roster. He did come up with two blocks in the third quarter Monday night. That was probably enough for Doc to justify his decision, but Jordan’s effort and impact overall were putrid. Miami scored over 50 points in the 17 minutes Jordan was on the floor. His deep drop coverage left the Heat guards with open mid-range jumper after open mid-range jumper, and despite him hanging back at the rim every possession, Miami managed to orchestrate a layup line whenever Jordan was on the court. If he’s going to concede jumpers, he has to at least put up some real resistance in the paint.
The Sixers are pretty much screwed if Jordan is playing real minutes — I’m not sure it’s within the realm of possibility for Jordan to positively impact a playoff game at this stage in his career — but if he is, he has to actually live up to Doc Rivers’ warped perspective of his impact.