Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan has demonstrated growth since last season, with his play on the court, as well as in his overall maturity level, Justin Verrier of ESN.com writes. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily because of what happened this offseason, but I’d say he’s been more mature, more focused. He’s been a better leader,” shooting guard J.J. Redick said. “I’d say the same about Blake Griffin, I would say the same thing about Chris. Those guys are really locked in. It goes without saying — they just want to win a championship, and we have to follow that lead.” Redick is of course referring to Jordan almost joining the Mavericks as an unrestricted free agent before suddenly reversing course and deciding to re-sign with Los Angeles via a four-year, $87.6MM pact.
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Despite all the reports of turmoil in Sacramento, one bright spot for the team has been the recent play of point guard Rajon Rondo, who has impressed embattled coach George Karl with his orchestration of the Kings‘ offense, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. “Rajon is very intelligent there, and I think he’s ahead of the curve,” Karl said. “I’ve been surprised by the numbers he’s putting up from the standpoint of understanding our team.”
- Luke Walton has been performing admirably filling in as interim coach for the Warriors while coach Steve Kerr recovers from multiple back surgeries, guiding the team to a 10-0 start to the 2015/16 season. While Walton is anxious for Kerr to return to the team, he also adds that he would like to become a head coach on a more permanent basis down the line, Ben Golliver of SI.com relays. “I would love to at some point. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s enjoyable,” Walton responded when asked about potentially becoming a full-time head coach. “It’s something I would like to do one day with my own team. That’s nothing I’m trying to rush into. I’m just grateful for this opportunity and learning. As hectic as this has been and as crazy as this has been, obviously I can’t wait for Steve to get back. I’ll be thrilled to hand this thing over to Steve once he’s ready.”
- Lakers rookie Larry Nance Jr. credits his four years as a starter for the University of Wyoming for preparing him for the rigors of the NBA, and believes his experience gives him an edge over many other first year players, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “I’m not taking anything away from the young guys to the guys that come out early. Obviously you can look around the league and you can look around our locker room,” said Nance. “But I think we’ve grown up mentally and may be a little bit more ready physically.”