Clippers center DeAndre Jordan reacts after scoring two of his 15 points… (Michael Nelson / EPA )
His teammates constantly encourage him, doing all they can to keep Clippers center DeAndre Jordan engaged.
They have all seen Jordan's development on offense, so now the idea is to get him the ball more than the Clippers did last season.
"I know that he worked a lot on his offense all summer," said Clippers guard Chauncey Billups. "You've got to throw DJ a bone or two. You've got to make him feel like he's involved. And if you do that, he's going to play extremely hard on the other end. I know that about him."
That was the case Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jordan had 15 points on six out of seven field-goal attempts. He had six rebounds, two big offensive ones in the fourth quarter.
He was three for six from the free-throw line, two of those late in the fourth.
"DJ has a chance to be special," Chris Paul said. "He is unbelievable on both ends of the court. I think this year, obviously he's highlighted a lot more, probably more than he's ever been highlighted in his life. We're running plays for him three or four times in a row."
The idea now is to keep Jordan's head in the game, his teammates say.
They know he is averaging just 25.7 minutes per game, and that he yearns to play more.
Jordan is averaging 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds on the season. He's shooting 60.9% from the field, second best in the NBA before the Clippers played the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on Saturday night.
"When I see him drifting, I snap and get him back," Billups said. "Not just with him, but with other players too."
The Clippers have had their ups and downs this season.
They had a six-game winning streak and just broke a four-game losing streak.
"I think that we can be really good," Billups said. "We're not close yet, I'll be honest with you. We're not close right now. It's a mental component to being good that we're a ways away from right now. But physically and talent-wise and all that stuff, we've got that covered. But just that doesn't win in this league. So we've got a ways to go before we can kind of get to where we need be."
In the fourth quarter Wednesday, Jordan displayed what he can do when engaged. He hustled for an offensive rebound off a missed Billups shot and then threw a bounce pass to Blake Griffin for a dunk.
Jordan got another offensive rebound that led to two free throws for him (he made one).
Then Jordan outran Minnesota's big men and threw down a dunk while being fouled. He made the free throw to complete the three-point play.
"DJ is just going to continue to get better with his game," Paul said. "I think for him, he's just got to continue doing what he's doing. Everybody recognizes how talented he is. The hardest thing to do in this league is be consistent, for any of us. But DJ is working hard at that."