Chandler could be perfect mentor for Knicks' Jordan
(5 minute video in link above)
8:04 AM, December 16, 2011ι By MARC BERMAN
With his Slovenian buyout official, rookie 7-foot center Jerome Jordan participated in his first practice as a Knick yesterday, impressing Mike D’Antoni with his length and athleticism.
The Knicks are committed to seeing if they can develop Jordan, and he signed a two-year, nearly $1 million contract at the rookie minimum. The Knicks had previously invested in Jordan, paying Milwaukee $1 million for his draft rights after he was selected in the second round in 2010.
With the way the Knicks’ thin bench is looking, Jordan may actually get a chance to hit the rotation if there’s injuries up front.
His learning curve should be spiked by going up against new 7-1 center Tyson Chandler in practices. It’s one of the reasons the Knicks ultimately decided to fly Jordan in from Slovenia amidst his second season in Europe.
“I rebound, block shots – defense first,’’ Jordan said, sounding like Chandler. “I can mix it up scoring-wise. I do a little bit of everything.’’
In an NBA bereft of 7-foot centers who post up, Jordan showed that knack. Even Chandler is averse to the post-up. But Jordan can learn plenty from Chandler on the defensive end. The former Maverick is known as a terrific teammatean could be, the perfect mentor.
“Watching him, playing against him, I’ll learn as much as I can and pick his brain,’’ Jordan said.
Jordan is still suffering from jetlag after getting in Sunday. He had to wait not only for his buyout to be completed but a work visa. So he comes in behind.
“When I got over here, I thought I’d play right away but I had to wait a couple of days,’’ Jordan said. “But I think I’m up to speed, trying to get the offense down.’’
Jordan’s career hit a speed bump last May when his appendix exploded and was rushed to a Serbian hospital for emergency surgery. He spent 11 days in the hospital, including in intensive care, lost 10 pounds and a lot of his strength.
It took a long time before he was cleared to play – mid-summer. In June, the plan had been for him to attend a Knicks free-agent mini-camp and work out with the coaches leading into July 1’s lockout. But he was still in recovery.
“The lockout actually helped me recover fully,’’ Jordan said.
There was debate in the front office on whether to leave him in Slovenia, where the new head coach was Nenad Trajkovic, an assistant with the Suns last season. His agent, Todd Ramasar, threatened a trade if he was not invited to training camp. Ultimately, GM Glen Grunwald insisted the club needed to start working with him in New York.
“He went overseas and made great progress,’’ Grunwald said. “He had a little setback last year with appendicitis and it took him a while to recover from that. He is a prospect and we will see if we can develop him into a player.’’
The karma is evident. Jordan, who played at Tulsa, has uncles in the Bronx and he hails from Kingston, Jamaica, birthplace of one Patrick Ewing.