Today is the deadline for the NBA Veteran Buyout Market, and the Sixers are yet to make a move of any significance following their trade deadline blockbuster. They did sign Willie Cauley-Stein to mop up some of the garbage time minutes at the center position, but it’s unlikely that Stein will even be on the roster much further than his current 10 day contract. That would mean there is still a hole at the backup 5, a position that is currently filled by 6’7” Paul Millsap. Clearly that does not seem sustainable in the playoffs, and last night we saw that the Sixers do indeed have an additional plan to add depth to the team. Per a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski yesterday evening, Philly has shown interest in a veteran big man that could be waived before the deadline:
The 76ers have been in the market for a backup center and will be aggressive in pursuit of DeAndre Jordan — either placing a waiver claim or working to sign him as a free agent should he clear waivers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 1, 2022
The name DeAndre Jordan is intriguing, considering he’s a former 1st team all NBA selection (’15), as well as an all-defensive 1st team selection in 2014. He used to be an absolutely dominant rim running/rim protecting force in the NBA, but at the age of 33, he’s not exactly in his prime anymore. In fact, he’s fallen off a cliff when it comes to production in most areas of the game. He never was all that much of a scoring threat; the most he’s ever averaged in a season is 12.7ppg, but he’s still a big bodied rebounder and nearly a block per game defender. He’s only been asked to play 12.8 minutes per game in Los Angeles this year for an underachieving Lakers team, and he’d take on an even lesser role in Philly backing up Joel Embiid. The biggest gap that Jordan would fill for the Sixers is as a formidable rebounder, something Philly’s second unit desperately needs. He’s only averaging 5.4 boards per game, but again, that’s in minimal minutes. Per 36 mins, he’s actually averaging 15.2 rebounds, showing that while his usage has decreased, he still has a bit left in the tank. He’s also familiar with Doc Rivers from the two’s extended time together in Los Angeles with the Clippers, meaning that the transition over to the Sixers should be just about seamless.
There are, of course, drawbacks to Jordan. He gives you very little offensively, he’s not very fleet of foot anymore, and he does little but clog up the lanes on both sides of the floor, but with a Sixers second unit that contains so many shooters (Niang, Korkmaz, Milton), that could work out alright. We are years past the time when signing Jordan would’ve been a blockbuster move, but for a team that is currently giving a forward the majority of their backup center minutes, he could be the final piece to the puzzle that cements this roster for the playoffs. Make no mistake: the Sixers will not be worlds better because of Jordan, but they will be better off with him than without a real backup center. We’ll see if he ends up in Philly when all is said and done.