Jerome Jordan had himself what could be a money-making game Sunday morning in Shanghai. The 7-footer scored seven points, seven rounds, three of them offensive, and blocked a shot in only 15 minutes, using his big body and 7'6" wingspan to hold down the post. Although there appears to be four candidates for the Nets last two roster spots, Jordan has gotten most of the action and delivered.
So what do we know about the big Jamaican?
Jordan has only played 21 career games in the NBA, with the Knicks in 2011-2012, but he has ideal size for a big man in Lionel Hollins' system. Hollins likes playing two big men at once, for example Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, ... and Jordan is seven-footer with a mid-range game (although we didn't see that Sunday as he focused on the paint).
The former Tulsa big man can give the Nets a player off the bench that provides them with not only size, but also a pick-and-pop skill who could play minimal minutes behind the likes of Mason Plumlee, Kevin Garnett, and Mirza Teletovic. Mikki Moore much?
And apparently, it wasn't just his performance on Sunday that has impressed his teammates. After the third day of practice, Jarrett Jack was asked who among the new guys had impressed him.
"Jerome Jordan has been special for us," said Jack. "I think being a big guy trying to come in here learning all these new rules, how you guard the post, its very very difficult."
Considering his sample size in the NBA is so small, Jordan's D-League experience is much more useful indicator of what he can do. The big fella shot 59% for four different teams in a span of two seasons in the developmental league while also blocking two shots per game. Jordan has incredible length with that 7'6" wingspan, as measured in teh NBA Draft Combine. He could be a fine rim protector in the league. "His length also makes him a presence defensively (over 300 career blocks at Tulsa), with potential to improve if he focuses on it," NBADraft.net wrote in 2010, when the Bucks took him with the 44th pick in the draft and then dealt him to the Knicks.
Apologies for the grainy quality, but Synergy doesn't have any video of Jordan's time in the NBA, so this is the best we got. It's his D-League highlights from the Erie Bayhawks, formerly the Knicks' affiliate.
In these several clips from one game, where he played with Jeremy Lin, it is clear that multiple facets of Jordan's game could be useful at the next level. Jordan can run the floor and has confidence in his jumper, both spot up and turn around, things that the Nets could utilize this season. The big man can play positive minutes as a rim protector and as a floor spacer ... even in limited minutes.
There are obviously flaws in Jordan's game. It has been reported that he struggles with intensity on the floor. NBADraft.net laid out some of his key weaknesses in the same analysis of his game.
Shows flashes but his level of effort and intensity lacks consistency within games ... He's naturally a laid back guy and has trouble at times flipping the switch on the floor and becoming intense ... Lack of intensity has been a barrier for him ... Considering his length, should be a more dominant shot blocker. His timing and natural instincts are just average.
None of that was evident Sunday in Shanghai. Whatever might have been said of him before the Draft, since then he has shown he wants to play. He's spent time overseas in the Philippines and Italy, played for D-League teams in Erie, Los Angeles, and Reno while working out for NBA clubs in New York, Houston, Indiana, L.A. and Memphis, where Hollins had him in camp two years ago. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, he's also played for that country's national team in FIBA competition. That itinerary alone says commitment. It should also be noted that two years ago, Jordan was the last player cut by the Grizzlies in training camp. Hollins, of course, coached that team.
In a role that will likely be very marginal but not detrimental, IF he makes the team, Jordan is likely to play the role of big body. That's if he makes the team.
The Nets have 17 players under contract, but four have only partial or no guarantees: Jorge Gutierrez and Cory Jefferson have already received partial guarantees, Gutierrez $25,000 and Jefferson three times that. If Jordan makes the final roster, he'll get $100,000. Willie Reed, the last free agent signed, has no guarantees.
Gutierrez is pitted against Marquis Teague in a competition for the limited minutes behind Dern Williams and Jarrett Jack. At this point, Teague is more likely to stay on the roster. He'll cost the Nets $3 million if he is waived. Hollins also reportedly sees potential in Teague's speed and quickness and might want to keep the 21-year-old around and develop him. Moreover, he played well enough, at least on offense Sunday, scoring nine points, including three crucial free throws late.
The Nets have already invested a lot in Jefferson. He cost the Nets $300,000 on Draft Night and has that $75,000 in guaranteed money this season. Jefferson also gives the Nets a developmental piece off the bench, although at 24, Jefferson is only three years younger than Jordan. Still, Jordan does have the experience.
How important are the games to the camp invites like Jordan, Joe Johnson was asked via conference call Monday morning.
"It gives them a chance to showcase what they can do not only for us, for the Brooklyn Nets but for other teams as well," Joe Johnson said Sunday morning. "Sometimes it may be a little unfortunate that some guys may not make this team, but you still get a chance to put your skills on display for other teams out there."
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