When the Brooklyn Nets signed then-free agent center Jerome Jordan to a training camp contract early last month it seemed like more of an insurance move than a real shot at making the roster. Right now, with Brook Lopez sitting out with a mildly sprained foot, they seem likely to cash in that insurance policy and carry Jordan on the roster.
Jordan, a 28 year-old who was drafted with the 44th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, has barely played in the NBA. Just 21 games with the Knicks during the 2011-12 season. He averaged 14 points and 9.0 rebounds per 36 minutes that year. So far this preseason, he has looked skilled enough to match those numbers while serving as a backup center/rebounding specialist just in case something happens to Lopez.
“I like the kid, I’ve had him before and I’m pulling for him [to make the roster],” said Hollins, referring to training camp with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012. “But he’s gotta earn it. He made a step in that direction tonight. He did what we asked, he scored more than we expected. But he was trying to guard the basket and he had a couple blocked shots. He played decent.”
The key is that Jordan seems to understand his role on this club and is focused on improving in those areas the Nets will count on.
“I think there’s always room for improvement,” Jordan said. “But I think I showed a little bit of everything on the defensive end, rebounding and blocking shots. I feel like if I get picked, those will be the things I’ll do. I need to just keep doing that and whatever I can contribute on the offensive end would be a plus.”
Right now the Nets have 13 guaranteed contracts which leaves enough room for two extra players for them to take with them from training camp. There is a need for a rebounding big man, especially with Lopez’s foot questionable, so it would seem Jordan immediately has a slight edge right there. Cory Jefferson and Jorge Gutierrez are also competing for a spot as well with Markel Brown and Willie Reed as wild cards.
The Nets have just one more preseason game left to play on Oct. 22 against the Boston Celtics so even though the season doesn’t start for nearly another two weeks, it’s not really that long of a time to make a decision.