Doc Rivers Laughably Compares DeAndre Jordan to Celtics Legend Bill Russell

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2014

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Doc Rivers isn't a doctor, he just needs one.

Speaking with reporters following the Los Angeles Clippers' 101-81 victory over the Orlando Magic, Rivers was feeling particularly fond of DeAndre Jordan after he went for 14 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks in 31 minutes.

"DJ looked like that guy from Boston again," Rivers said, per ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi.

Rivers was referencing Hall of Fame center Bill Russell, in case you were wondering. Got it? Good, now feel free to snicker skeptically while fighting back utter confusion.

Since when is Rivers Mark Jackson? And since when is hyperbole his native tongue?

Since he laid eyes upon Jordan, apparently.

Before this season even began, Rivers was trumpeting Jordan's skill set like he was an accomplished All-Star. Markazi reminds us that Rivers expected him to contend for the Defensive Player of the Year award, which is exactly what he's doing.

But comparing him to Russell is going too far. 

Jordan's one performance was certainly reminiscent of Russell, who averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game for his career, but it was one performance. He isn't the double-double machine or scorer Russell was, and he'll never be the Hall of Famer Russell is. Nor does he intend to be.

If there's one thing we can say in defense of Rivers' comparison, it's that it wasn't completely random. Russell was Jordan's idol growing up, and he's the "reason he wears No. 6."

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Alumni legend Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics waves to the crowd during a time out against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
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"It's not really my first priority or second priority," Jordan said of scoring, via the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner. "I want to be the best defensive player out there. If I can go out there and control the paint for us and only have two points but grab 20 rebounds and a couple of blocks for our team and I play well defensively … that's my only concern."

At least Jordan recognizes who he is. 

Getting caught up in unjustified pro comparisons takes away from what he's actually doing: having a career year. Jordan still cannot hit his free throws (40.1 percent), but he's averaging a career-high 9.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, the latter of which leads the NBA.  

Rivers is also allowing him to play more than 30 minutes per game for the first time in his career, placing the faith in him that Vinny Del Negro never did, even if some of it's misguided.

"I keep saying that if there is a better defensive player in the league, I don’t know where he is at," Rivers said, via Markazi.

Some of you would argue that he's with the Miami Heat, wearing No. 6 himself and sporting a receding hairline. Some would maintain he's dominating for the Indiana Pacers, donning No. 24, using his blue-collar work ethic and gold-swagger appeal to win games.

Others would drop an assortment of different names, but not Rivers. He's perfectly content remaining Jordan's walking billboard—which is fine.

Let's just make sure he keeps the Russell comparisons to a respectable minimum unless Jordan ices his fingers with 11 championship rings.


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