Doc Rivers is a self-declared systematic coach.
His Celtics defenses rarely missed their rotations, ranking near the top of the NBA in defensive field goal percentage and points allowed each of the last five seasons.
Rivers credited big men Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins for a lot of that success and foresees DeAndre Jordan, the rim protector, and Blake Griffin, the post defender, filling similar roles for the Clippers.
“We have to be a connected defensive team and those two guys in a lot of way will be our defensive captains,” Rivers said. “DeAndre and Blake will be our defense. “
Rivers said he’s never coached a player with the explosiveness of Jordan, who’s averaged 1.5 blocks a game over his five NBA seasons. Rivers thinks he’s so talented, he should be next season’s defensive player of the year.
“One hundred percent, I think that’s what he will be,” Rivers said. “When other teams show up, they should look at him and say, ‘This is not going to be a fun night.’ ”
Rivers said that if Jordan can pick up the intense demeanor Kendrick Perkins’ brought to the Celtics in their 2008 championship season, he’ll have the complete package.
And with that defensive centerpiece, the Clippers could be championship contenders.
“You have to be good at both [offense and defense], but you have to be great at defense,” Rivers said. “It’s rare that an average defensive team wins a championship.”
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