The Dallas Mavericks organization is apparently unhappy with DeAndre Jordan after signing him to a massive deal during the offseason.
Tim MacMahon reported why players for Dallas had been so unhappy with the big man (via ESPN):
“Don’t be deceived by DeAndre Jordan’s solid statistics. He has been a major disappointment for the Mavs. He has rubbed teammates the wrong way with what they perceive as selfish play, the most blatant example being when he stole an uncontested rebound from Luka Doncic by putting his forearm in the prized rookie’s back and tipping the ball away. Jordan’s disinterest in playing help defense has been a big problem as Mavs opponents light up the scoreboard.”
While there are not many stats that track defensive hustle, it’s interesting to note that his total distance traveled on defense ranks Top 10 among centers in the NBA. That doesn’t point to someone who is particularly reluctant to play both sides of the ball.
Jordan has also averaged 0.8 deferred rebounds per game, which is about as many as any of the top bigs in the league. This indicates that even though he has occasionally grabbed boards teammates have wanted, it goes both ways.
His teammate Dwight Powell has referred to these occasional incidents as “friendly fire” and told reporters he did not mind them. Rather, he believes they are expected when playing alongside an elite rebounder like Jordan. If anything, Jordan’s passing statistics show he is fairly selfless.
As you can see above, he has completed approximately twice as many passes as he has received over the past five years. While his touches have increased this season, it’s not a huge surprise considering he is surrounded by less ball dominant options now in Dallas than he was in Los Angeles alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The big man has also passed during more than a quarter of his possessions during a paint touch so far this season. That’s more often than any of the past five seasons.
That shows a bigger willingness to distribute despite being in a zone where he would be otherwise comfortable scoring. Jordan is someone who is going to want to score when near the basket. But his scoring has dropped and he is helping get his teammates involved instead.
Jordan is not solely to blame for the poor defensive performance that Dallas has had thus far, ranking Bottom 10 in defensive rating. But he should be credited for helping the Mavericks rank Top 10 in rebounding percentage. His teammates seem to agree the report is outlandish and not in line with their thinking.