After bouncing around the basketball globe playing in Serbia, Slovenia, Erie, Reno, the Philippines and Italy, this season was the first in which Jerome Jordan actually looked like he possessed the tools to be an NBA player. Jordan was originally drafted by the New York Knicks as a second-rounder in 2010, but couldn’t make the team until the season after and even then failed to crack the rotation. His upside began and ended with “he’s 7’1″ with a 7’5″ wingspan.” Coordination? Nope. NBA-level skillset? Nada. Jordan fell right back off the map.
Fast forward to 2014-15, and Jordan’s back in the league as a Brooklyn Net, new and improved. It wasn’t a ginormous sample – rightfully so given Brooklyn’s depth at the five and Jordan still not quite a second-string player – but he impressed in limited minutes this season, teasing that he could be on a tangible rise. Jordan appeared in 44 games, playing 8.7 minutes a night, giving us little to work with.
Let’s start with his per-36 minute numbers, which aren’t too shabby: 13 points and 9.9 rebounds on 53.2% shooting from the field. A downside was his 1.4 blocks, a low number for such a lengthy center who should be imposing around the rim. These stats don’t offer much though, so let’s dig deeper.
Jordan was a +/- nightmare for the Nets, but his meager playing time and awkward fit in Brooklyn’s system had a lot to do with this. That awkward fit is major in trying to determine just how useful Jordan is, especially on the offensive end. His offensive game revolves around pick-and-roll crashes to the rim, probing lob finishes and offensive boards. Think DeAndre Jordan, minus the inhumane athleticism. To best excel as this type of offensive center, you need a spaced out lineup with lots of pick-and-roll action, things the Nets relied on only after the All-Star break. It almost makes it unfair then to bemoan Jordan’s low-impact offense, considering he only played in eight games following the festivities compared to 36 prior. Throw this guy in a spread pick-and-roll system and let’s see what he can do.
On the defensive end is where the biggest concerns lie. Although Jordan understood what rotations to make and when, he was often slow-footed at executing and couldn’t do much when he got there. Jordan allowed opponents to shoot 50.4% at the rim, not a bad number, but not nearly good enough for a player his size who doesn’t send away many shots. His rebounding as a whole isn’t much different. Although he was pesky on the offensive boards to the tune of collecting 15.3% of available O rebounds, Jordan managed to rein in only 52.5% of rebounds per chance according to the SportVU’s public data.
For those eager to see how Jordan develops as a third-string center on this Nets club may be shifting in their seats, as Brooklyn did not extend a qualifying offer to him. Worry not, though, for this is likely just salary cap mumbo jumbo:
The non-tender is as much bookkeeping than anything. Jordan played the season on a non-guaranteed contract (until early January, when all contracts become guaranteed), and a qualifying offer is a guaranteed offer with a cap hold of slightly over $1.1 million. The Nets could still elect to bring back Jordan following their other major free agent decisions on a minimum contract. – The Brooklyn Game
Here’s hoping the Nets keep Jordan around for what he could become, as they can use all the surprise value from cheap contracts they can get.