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DeAndre Jordan’s loud Nets voice becoming team’s ‘glue’

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According to head coach Steve Nash, the Nets are a pretty quiet team. And then there’s DeAndre Jordan.

Jordan has been a key piece in the Nets’ rotation since he signed a four-year, $40 million deal with the team in July 2019. Now, the 32-year-old has taken on even more responsibility, stepping into a mentoring role that also fosters team chemistry.

“DeAndre is sort of like the glue in the locker room and everybody kind of gravitates towards his voice and his energy,” Kevin Durant said Wednesday. “We all played against DJ throughout his whole career, and even as a competitor, he still has that joy and spirit within the game you know, playing tough but also understanding that he is playing the game.

“He brings that kid-like enjoyment to playing us. He knows how to switch it on because, sometimes, you need to cut that s–t out and be locked in. And he understands that. It’s a good balance for us as a group.”

Jordan said Thursday that being fun has always been a part of his personality. Drawing from his 13 seasons in the league, Jordan said he just enjoys passing along everything he has learned throughout his career.

As one of the oldest Nets, Jordan realizes how many of his younger teammates are looking to him for guidance.

Nets
Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan
AP

“I just want to come and be a great veteran leader for our guys and keep them lighthearted, especially when we’re going through the ups and downs of the season,” he said. “You can go on a great streak you can go on a bad streak, but for us, to be able to keep things in perspective and compete while having fun, that’s kind of my main focus.”

In his first training camp as Nets head coach, Steve Nash said he quickly noticed how much Jordan’s high energy influences the rest of the team. For that reason alone, according to Nash, Jordan has become an irreplaceable presence in the locker room.

“He’s a welcome personality in an otherwise fairly chill group,” Nash said.

Reggie Perry, the Nets’ 2020 second-round pick, said all he wanted to do when he got into the NBA was learn from the great players. But the Mississippi State product wasn’t expecting players like Jordan to be so willing with their time.

“It’s been great, just to have guys like that, that have a lot of experience,” the 20-year-old Perry said. “Not only them having a lot of experience, but their willingness to be able to teach young guys, to be able to help young guys get what they’ve been through and stuff. It’s been great, I’m glad to have them.”

In his first season in Brooklyn last year, Jordan fielded questions about his new role coming off the bench, averaging 8.3 points in 56 games (six starts). Now, he appears to be the go-to player to inquire about how the organization is going to continue team bonding amid a global pandemic.

“This season is going to be a lot different than any other seasons prior,” he said. “You usually go to dinner, we go to the movies, bowl, whatever it is to get out of the hotel, so we got to find different ways to still be able to hang out off the floor in a safe way obviously. I’m not trying to sit outside and eat outdoors while it’s cold, but we’ll figure out ways for us to gel and build off the floor safely.”

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