Jordan had his biggest games for Texas A&M; when the challenges were smallest. Like his 18 points and nine rebounds against Texas State. Sorry, but that's not quite like going against the Boston Celtics.
Jordan was poor enough that by the end of the season the Aggies basically moved on without him. He was poor enough with the United States U-19 team in last summer's world championships that he wound up playing nine minutes per game. It seems he has never been really good against serious competition.
So why should a team draft him? Because by the time any one of them would have cause to seriously consider it, all the "sure things" already will be off the board. And a team that regards Jordan will be staring at a 7-0, 260-pound giant who brings more raw physical potential to the league than Andrew Bynum did a few years back. If you're going to take a chance, why not on someone who most certainly looks like a player?
|NBA draft debates|
|Draft quality: Good draft | Bad draft|
|Sleeper: Ryan Anderson | Chris Douglas-Roberts|
|DeAndre Jordan: Likely bust | Worth the risk|
|Heat's No. 2 pick: Trade it | Hold on to it|
|Foreign players: Origin irrelevant | Avoid them|
Jordan has height and length most any big man would covet. He is far more dynamic an athlete than most you'll see at his size. One thing he did extremely well for A&M;, in his limited playing time, was block shots. He swatted down 1.3 per game while playing only 20 minutes, and he did it without encountering major foul trouble.
It's fairly well established selecting Jordan will be the biggest gamble of this draft. But it's only a bad bet if he is selected ahead of somebody like Michael Beasley, and if the team picking him is neither willing to invest the time to train him nor able to wait on his development.
Just as there is uncertainty over whether France's Nicolas Batum has enough of a game to make it in the league, over whether D.J. Augustin is tall enough, over whether Italy's Danilo Gallinari can get his excellence through U.S. Customs, there is uncertainty over whether Jordan is any kind of player.
He is big and long and can jump to the ceiling, though. NBA teams generally can make some use of all three qualities.
Mike DeCourcy is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at email@example.com.