The way Doc Rivers is speaking about DeAndre Jordan is getting a bit weird. First Rivers stated that DeAndre Jordan had a chance to win Defensive Player of the Year at the beginning of the season. Then came the pushing of Jordan to be an All-Star when he didn’t have a case over those who were selected over him. Now Rivers is comparing Jordan to Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell.
“I genuinely see traits of Bill Russell. I didn’t say he was Bill Russell. I just think that’s a good thing. What do you see? You see block shots, he’s the (leading) rebounder in the league, he’s blocking everything that comes his way and he changes shots. That’s what Bill Russell does. So that’s been a good thing.” (DeAndre Jordan Driven by Russell Comparison | NBA.com)
It’s no secret what Doc Rivers is attempting to do here. Jordan is far from Bill Russell-edque, but he’s excelling at the two things Russell was most known for. Well all but the defense. If Jordan was half of what Russell was on the defensive side of the ball, the consensus on the Los Angeles Clippers championship chances would be a tad bit higher.
This goes along with everything Rivers has said about Jordan on the season. He’s attempting to grow DeAndre Jordan’s confidence, hoping to mold him into the player the Clippers need essentially reversing everything that Vinny Del Negro did during his three years as Jordan’s head coach. And it’s worked. A 10-minute boost in Jordan’s minutes combined with Rivers’ defensive system has made Jordan a candidate for the Most Improved award. As Rivers noted in the quote above, he’s leading the league in rebounds, is fourth in minutes played, third in blocks, second in total rebound percentage, is top-15 in both offensive and defensive rating, and is eighth in win shares.
If Rivers wants the NBA fan base to recognize Jordan’s improvement, he can essentially lead fans to NBA statistics, basic or advanced. Instead he’s has become the driving force behind making Jordan one of the most overrated players in the NBA.