Doc Rivers recently said that his starting center DeAndre Jordan carries qualities of legendary center Bill Russell. Though it’s no surprise for coaches to veer into the realm of hyperbole to unlock potential of their players (think of Mark Jackson’s declaration of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson being the best shooting backcourt in NBA history), Rivers isn’t wrong. DJ is springy, he lives on the glass and deters weak and strong forays to the basket alike.
There was another element about Russell. The Lord of the Rings is praised for his ability to turn a block into a turnover, making defense offensive and piling on assists from the defensive end. More than anybody, in the process of altering shots his own way, Russell altered the way practitioners and fans viewed defense on the hardwood.
On Monday night, there were plenty of stout rejections, but it was the Pistons’ young pivot Andre Drummond who demonstrated to a new generation the art of turning a block into a quick two: