Sorry again for the no-show yesterday. Today's profile moves south from Austin, to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In addition to having a great play-by-play man, this past season RGV had a few players who will likely see some Summer League action, and maybe eventually some time in the NBA. Let's start with 6'0", 185 pound point guard Jared Jordan.
How he got here
Jordan attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and made an immediate impact, being named to the MAACV All-Rookie Team. His sophomore year really started to reveal what he could do, as he was second in the league in assists per game and had already reached ninth on Marist's career assist ladder. Jordan started 26 games that year, and had four double-doubles that year. Another year, more improvement. As a junior, Jordan led the NCAA in assists and in assists per game, averaging 8.5, and was a unanimous All-MAAC First Teamer. As a senior he led the nation in assists once more, and became the 23rd player in Marist history to score 1,000 points.
Jordan attended the pre-draft camp in Orlando, and caught some peoples' attention. DraftExpress said,
One of the more intriguing prospects from day one, Jordan really stood out in the scrimmage portion of today's session. He displayed the ability to find the open man from anywhere on the floor, both in transition and in the half court offense, thanks to his fantastic court vision. He threw a great alley-oop lob to Stephane Lasme on one occasion, and did a solid job throughout on the pick and roll. The limitations of his game were just as apparent, however. Jordan will need to prove he can come over his disadvantages physically to really impress NBA scouts. At times he looked a step slow, needing a high ball screen at the top of the key to get the offense in motion.
Other observers praised his decision-making ability and intensity. Jordan was even featured in a glowing Sports Illustrated article (or at least on their website...I have no idea if this was in the print edition, because the only time I read that is when I'm at the dentist), and was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft. He played on the Clippers' Summer League team that year, then was traded to the New York Knicks for cash. He played a few preseason games for the Knicks, about eight minutes total, before being waived. Jordan then spent a year playing in Lithuania before joining the Phoenix Suns for their 2008 Summer League team. Phoenix didn't work out, either, and Jordan signed a training camp contract with the New Orleans Hornets. There he received praise from Coach Byron Scott, though he ultimately lost the backup point guard competition to Mike James and Devin Brown (which not everyone agreed with).
Jared Jordan then signed a contract with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers. We'll take a look at how he did after the jump.
Once in the D-League, Jordan was able to once again show his knack for racking up assists. He was fifth in the league in total assists, second in assists per game (when you discount Kyle Weaver, who only played in two games), and narrowly edged out Walker Russell, Jr. for tops in the league in assists per 48 minutes. He also had the third-best assist/turnover ratio in the league.
He wasn't immediately successful, though. Outside of a nine-assist game on December 26 against Los Angeles, Jordan only averaged about 2.5 assists per game for his first few weeks in the D-League, and he didn't really start to shine until late February. After another game against the D-Fenders, in which he had 4 points on 2-7 shooting and zero assists in 21 minutes, Jordan exploded for 23 points and nine assists against Bakersfield, followed by four straight double-doubles, starting with 16 points and 21 assists against Fort Wayne on February 26. From then on there were only two games where Jordan didn't finish with double-digits in either points or assists, and against Idaho on March 14 he had 15 points, 13 assists and only one turnover in 41 minutes.
Not a whole lot has changed for Jared Jordan since he was drafted, but then it's only been a few years. He still has very good point guard skills, though he's limited defensively and not very quick. I saw Rio Grande Valley play in April and had these thoughts on Jordan:
He didn't really penetrate with the ball until later in the game, but he knows where his teammates are and makes solid decisions. He also had two nice alley-oops to [Kurt] Looby late in the game, one to pull within two and another to tie it up. Jordan also isn't particularly quick, but he was able to get around both [DeMarcus] Nelson and [Squeaky] Johnson.
Another thing Jordan doesn't do very well is shoot from outside. He tends to only take one or two threes a game (and sometimes not even that), but even at that he finished the year shooting 28 percent from behind the arc. That said, he's talented enough with the ball in his hands that he'd make a solid backup point guard in the NBA.