Rivers on D&C: Durant NBA’s most efficient
|04.01.10 at 10:43 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and talked about Kevin Durant, the young star who led the Thunder past the Celtics on Wednesday night. “Offensively, he’s as good as you’re going to get in the league,” Rivers said. “I think he is the most efficient offensive player in the league. LeBron and Kobe, they score more points, but he’s more efficient at it. He’s amazing. … He’s a great young kid. He’s everything good about our league. It’s really good to have a guy like that in our league.”
Rivers said Durant’s size is what puts him (literally) over the top, helping to make him the best catch-and-shoot guy in the NBA. “There’s probably guys who can shoot as well as Durant. The difference is when Durant catches and shoots, even if you’re there, because of his size, he can still shoot it over you,” Rivers said. “He knows at the end of the day, even [against] a good defense that he can still shoot it over you, because he’s five inches taller or four inches taller than most of the guys that are going to guard him.”
Rivers admitted that had the Celtics received the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, he would have wanted to take Ohio State center Greg Oden over the skinny Texas star. “I would have taken Oden, there’s no doubt about it,” Rivers said. “Obviously, now, I would have been wrong. … You can’t fault Portland for taking Oden.”
Comparing Durant and LeBron James, Rivers said: “The bottom line is we haven’t seen any player in the history of basketball like either one of those guys. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a guy with the size of LeBron and the power of LeBron and the speed and the IQ and all that.’¨’¨ The comparison of Durant would be a cross between George Gervin and Dirk Nowitzki, but he also has more speed than both of them and he can handle the ball. … Skinny, long — he is a freak. That’s what he is.”
Rivers said the Thunder are an impressive team, mainly in the maturity department. “They’re young, they’re confident, they play defense,” he said. “They have pretty good composure for a young team. And they’re not an emotional team. … They went for skill over the potential athlete who, if he learns how to shoot and run, he can be a good player, if you know what I’m saying. And they went for character. All their guys coming out of college were known as high-character players, high-skill players. It’s tough to go wrong if you go with that formula.”
Rajon Rondo has received some criticism for not being consistent enough and focusing more on being flashy than fundamental. Responded Rivers: “Rondo has come such a long way. There are times when Rondo goes for the showy pass instead of being solid. But even that, to me, he has improved so much. I don’t have a lot of complaints with Rondo right now. I do think there are times when he wants to put on a show. … He keeps getting better, and I like that part of him. He’s more competitive, he plays harder, so there’s a lot of good things. Far more good than bad. There is no perfect player, by the way. And I always remind myself of that. But as far as Rondo goes, the positives are so much greater than the negatives.”
The Celtics did their share of complaining to the officials Wednesday night, which is nothing new for this team. Asked if his team sometimes complains too much, Rivers said: “There’s no doubt that we do. There is no doubt. … That’s something I spend timeouts with at times: ‘Guys, I’ll do the complaining. I’ll do whatever I need to do. You keep playing.’ … The one thing I did like, is it never stopped them from playing last night, and that’s a really good sign for us.”
To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
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