PORTLAND – As a team, rebounding has been a challenging proposition for the Dallas Mavericks this season. But not for DeAndre Jordan.
Entering Sunday’s road game at Portland, Jordan was second in the NBA in rebounds with 14.4 boards per game. That includes picking up at least 20 rebounds in six games this year.
Jordan, in fact, has 22 or more rebounds in three of the last four games, including a season-high tying 23 boards during Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
“He’s one of the great rebounders really in the recent history of our league,” coach Rick Carlisle said prior to Sunday’s Mavs-Portland game at the Moda Center. “He’s one of the top two or three guys every year, and one of the reasons we wanted him here was to solidify our defensive rebounding, and it’s gotten a lot better.”
Jordan led the league in rebounds in 2014 and ’15, was second in ‘16, third in ‘17 and second last season. Because they had issues rebounding the basketball in recent years, the Mavs signed the 6-11, 265-pound center to a one-year free agent contract this past July.
But in addition to his rebounding skills, Jordan also is averaging a career-high 2.3 assists per game, as he sometimes roams near the top of the key and drills a pinpoint bounce pass to his teammates.
“He hadn’t been featured very much doing it,” Carlisle said, referring to Jordan’s passing skills. “I’m always opened-minded as to what guys can do as opposed to what they can’t do.
“We felt very good about his free throw shooting getting better. As far as the passing, he’s doing some really good things and has shown improvements as the season’s gone along, and he’s gotten more used to his teammates and they’ve gotten more used to him. He’s seeing things and seeing cut opportunities that our guys are picking up on it and taking advantage of it.”