Doc Rivers joined John Thompson and Doc Walker for an interview on ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C. today. Rivers talked about the newly formed trio in Miami, the growth of Rajon Rondo, the Los Angeles Lakers, and how the hell he plans to defend the pick-and-roll with Shaq in the game. (SportsRadioInterviews.com)
On the Miami Heat:
I do think people are all focusing on the wrong thing. I think everybody is talking about shots. Is there enough shots, will they have enough shots, will they be able to play together, whose going to take the last shot and that could cause turmoil, but I think the key for them is will they defend? Because if they defend and get stops, they’re talented enough offensively to get points. The key for them is will they buy into being a defensive unit.”
On Rajon Rondo:
The other thing about Rondo is he’s the smartest player that I’ve ever coached. His basketball IQ is off the charts. Now it gets him in trouble at times, but he has great feel, he has huge hands, he can rebound, and the thing that I’m most impressed with is he’s doing this without a jump shot. You think about how dominant he has been. It’s always been said that you cannot win in the NBA with a non-shooting point guard. We’re winning with a non-shooting point guard and we’re winning because of his IQ.”
High praise for Rondo, being called “the smartest player I’ve ever coached” by Doc Rivers. Especially for a 24-year old kid. Interestingly, Coach K has echoed similiar sentiments while talking about Rondo. When watching Rondo, it’s easy to see he has a high basketball IQ, but with all the effusive praise, there must be more to Rondo than the casual fan sees while watching him play on TV. Hell, for all the praise, I expect him to be diagramming plays like the Annexation of Peurto Rico all day.
On the Lakers, via @AsherrodbCSN
“That actually bothers me, when they (LAL) count their total amount of championships, and they count them from another city.”
On the addition of Shaq:
My biggest concern honestly coach is defensively because every time Shaq comes on the floor, everyone is going to run pick and roll and no one has been successful in figuring out how to use him and I’m no smarter than anyone else. That’s all we’ve been focusing on this summer is trying to figure out what we’re going to do in pick and rolls when he comes into the game.”
I laughed out loud when I read Doc’s take on Shaq. Sorry Doc, but no defensive scheming is not going to hide the fact that Shaq has cement in his sneakers and will get torched on nearly every pick-and-roll this season. Tom Thibodeau would be the only guy with a chance to come up with a defensive scheme that would work, but he works for the Chicago Bulls now. We’re just going have to take our lumps defensively when Shaq is on the court, and hope that his offensive skills outweight his defensive weaknesses.