Russell is the league’s grand old lion…one of the greatest players and certainly the greatest winner in NBA history. The numbers speak for themselves: 11 championships in 13 seasons, including eight and a row at one point, and the last two won back-to-back as a player coach.
Russell has forgotten more about winning than most of us will ever know.
In the interview, Russell was asked a couple questions that resulted in him bringing up a couple Bulls players.
Regarding which of today’s players have the best basketball IQ, Russell said:
I would never say who is the smartest but there are some players who stand out. Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Those guys all know what they’re doing. They go out to do things, not to see what’s going on.
When asked about which of today’s players have the most pride, Russell eventually said:
Players today such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, LeBron, these guys are first and foremost team guys. A player who doesn’t get much attention and is one of my favorites to watch is Joakim Noah. The Bulls don’t utilize some of his skills. Not only is he a good rebounder but he’s an excellent passer. A good passer is more important to a team than a good shooter on offense. These guys are among my favorites to watch. I like to see if they can take a guy’s skills and have them contribute to winning.
These comments sync up well with what a lot of Bulls fans already felt about Rose and Noah. And I’ve thought for a while that the Bulls should take better advantage of Noah’s ball distribution skills. I’d like to see Joakim with the ball in the high post with lots of cuts and curls going on around him. He really is a fantastic passer who usually makes the right decision.