Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
There is one out-of-the-box theory that is too fun to ignore: Doc Rivers doesn’t necessarily believe everything he has said about DeAndre Jordan. He loves his game, but he does it unconditionally—a little too unconditionally.
That’s not to say Rivers doesn’t think Jordan is a quality player. It’s not even to say he doesn’t think Jordan can be an All Star, but hasn’t the praise been just a tad profuse?
An all-defense talent? A contender for Defensive Player of the Year? Rivers even went out of his way to say he wouldn’t have wanted the Clippers to trade Jordan for Kevin Garnett.
“He can single handedly change a game with his defense,” Rivers said of D.J. “There’s five guys—and that number may be too high—that can do that single handedly with their size and athleticism and he’s one of them.”
The news here isn't that Doc should have wanted to trade Jordan for Garnett. There's a good chance that hypothetical trade could have turned out a dreadful one for the Clippers if it had actually gone down. What's important here is that Rivers continues to make these incredibly bold, public statements about Jordan's status with the team.
Doc is an ultimate motivator. There’s no doubt about that one. Is it possible he has another agenda here?
Jordan spent last season having his confidence destroyed. One mistake and he was out. One missed box out or bricked free throw and he was on the bench.
He didn’t play in crunch time. He averaged only 24.5 minutes per game. Who could blame DeAndre if he finished up last season not feeling all too good about himself?
Doc knows that. He knows that Jordan’s esteem last year was lower than his free-throw percentage—and he knows that can’t be the same this year.
What if this is all just some brilliant motivation tactic to help DeAndre find that lost confidence?
Doc is going out of his way. He's going out of his way to make sure D.J. takes media day pictures and does press conferences with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. He's going out of his way to paint an image of a "big 3", which is just as important to implant in D.J.'s mind as it is to convey to the media. Something there has to be calculated.
This is the opposite of the way this team was run the past few years. It’s overtly positive, and at the very least, that’s refreshing.