And watching the past couple of games, There are a couple of things that are clear. He can adapt and adjust his game. If you have been paying attention to his game, he's no longer running into the defense recklessly. He's now throwing up these floaters before he gets into the teeth of the defense. He's doing it at a consistent basis. But they aren't falling for him. He's going to have to really practice that shot if it's going to be a staple in his game which it looks to be.
If there's one issue with him that is really hurting him, it's his inability to play at different speeds and his habit of playing in a straight line iso. I don't think I've ever seen Rivers curl to the basket the way Vasquez does. He's going to have to learn to be really crafty to create space in the paint. Guys like Parker, Curry, and a lot of less athletic guards developed a lot of creative ball fakes, stop on a dime pump fakes, spins, and a fake pass to create space and hesitation for the defense. Rivers has the right idea with the floaters but he's going to have to find ways to create space. Rivers has the tools to be dominant in dribble penetration but it's going to take a couple of years for his body and game to develop.
Rivers is naturally small even if his listing doesn't make it seem so. I don't think one off-season will be enough for him to grow physically. I think it's going to take a couple of years unless you want him to sacrifice his speed and agility to carry some extra weight. Regardless, from what I've seen, I have zero expectations for him for the rest of the year. As far as I'm concerned, he's a development player who getting minutes due to injuries.
For people looking to FA as a saving grace (I'm not), here's a list of potential targets:
Iggy (if he exercises ETO)
Mayo (if he declines his player option)
and then there's Howard. LOL.
I'm not up to speed with all the percentages and PER's and super stat break downs, but last night was my 4th game at the hive this season, and to my untrained eye Austin Rivers looks very lost out there. He's got some quick moves with the ball but can't finish, and in games like last night when the ref's were only calling the fouls on the Horents, he' looks like he's just running around out there with no purpose. Lopez was on fire again in the first, but picked up 4 fouls quick and was largely on the bench in the 2nd half. Anderson is running away Team MVP honors. Kobie is a hell of a player, but I think I could count on both hands (maybe one) how many time he DID NOT run up and down the court clutching and grabbing his man on defense, with no calls I might add. OK this was my first time seeing D. Howard play live. No disrespect but he looks like a cartoon, Bodybuilder above the waist, and runway model below the waist. The chairs around my kitchen tables have legs bigger than his. Anyway, he's a bulldozer in the paint who throws around his oversized shoulders and gets an attitude when he gets called for it (which was rare last night).
Darius Miller has to be shaking his head sitting on the bench watching Xavier Henry run up and down the court eating up quality minutes. Anyone think Miller is being dangled as trade bait? I can't figure out why he is not getting time. Unless I've missed something he's done out there that was so horrible that Henry is a better option.?.
What I would like to know is why Monty isn't playing Rivers at PG?
Isn't this the reason they picked him.....to mold him into a PG/SG role?
Don't give me that crap that we haven't got anyone else to play SG because if we wanted
we could play Henry, Miller, Mason and Roberts at SG and they would play as bad or even better then Rivers.
He played his best game at the point this season coming off the bench and then Monty decides to play him at SG again.
Don't get me started on Miller either!
WTF he is doing with Miller......why isn't he getting minutes?
Because he fouls? These guy's need to develop their games not ride the bench.
Would playing Miller tonight for 15 minutes make us lose by more?.......hardly.
Also Monty needs to make subtle changes with his players.
Too many times he will try something and then quickly give up on his players.
I know Mason is starting games because of his defense but how will Miller improve if he gets 2 minutes a game?
We are re-building and Mason is not the future so why should he see minutes before Miller, Henry or even Rivers? He scored 3 points tonight in 23 minute which came in junk time. Miller couldn't do that?
I know the Rivers argument has been beat to death but the issue is that he was the 10th pick and clearly was undeserving of it. He didn't fill a need and there were better players chosen after him. Also, everyone says he'll be good in 2 to 3 years but guess what? The hornets are bad today. We had 2 lottery picks and we used 1 of them on a project. We need to get better now so that we can continue to build. The hornets were not in a position to pick a player that is a future prospect. If we take the the popular opinion about EG's ability to stay healthy, why would you draft a 2 guard that according to popular belief won't be ready to play until 3 years down the line? Why not draft one that's ready now? Why nt go PG or SF? The Rivers pick is mind boggling. I can only believe the it was a favor to Doc. There's no other reason for the pick.
He didn't fill a need? Lol. This team has huge problems initating their offense because they don't have enough ballhandlers with enough quickness to beat single cover full-court pressure by themselves. They also lack people that can cause a defense to collapse on them on a drive toward the rim. That is a huge aspect of the offensive game in today's NBA.
He has not produced to expectations, but saying he was a waste of a pick is way, way too early of a judgement.
And it is a good thing the Hornets are still bad this year. We need more talent at any position (except PF). Draft picks are a great and relatively inexpensive way to obtain said talent.
In short, stop thinking so short term.
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I might be a homer but last night's officiating was awful. I felt like the refs started bailing out the Lakers once the Hornets had an 8 point lead late in the 2nd quarter.
We need another decent pick before we attempt to contend, was always on the cards. Sonics/Thunder drafted top 5 for three successive years.. going back 20 years, the Hornets drafted top 5 three successive years too (Gill/LJ/Zo).
We had $30 mil worth of talent on the floor last night, which is what the Lakers spend on Kobe alone. We play our cards right, we could become the next OKC or Memphis- but not this year.
And having just Gordon being capable of initiating the offense is not good. Pretty much every contender has at least two. Greivis is not that guy. Rivers can be in 2 years. He was perhaps the closest to what we needed at that pick. If Royce White didn't have the mental issues he does, he would have been my preferred choice at that spot.
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The biggest problem with Rivers is he can't shoot at all so teams will always pack it in until he improves that aspect of his game. He can initiate offense, but mostly for himself. He doesn't see the floor that well since he's mostly focused on his defender and getting to the bucket. He has no mid-range game either.
I think Rivers is trying so hard to shake the stigma that he's a selfish player... and that can hurt your game. He has ALWAYS been an attacking guard off the dribble, and he's been a pretty good shooter in the past.
but it just seems to me that he's trying to hard NOT to be the player he used to be. I never thought the guy was a "ballhog" or "selfish"... I just think that in high school, AAU, College, and whatever other level he has played... that's what teams ASKED him to do. Lets be serious... would Coach K intentionally start and play a kid that was so selfish and ball-hog'ish?
He looks uncomfortable out there because the player that he's always been isn't the player he seems to be now. I often find myself yelling at the TV for Austin to take a player off the dribble and just make an aggressive play. Just do something. Shooting guards are supposed to SHOOT! He's too passive, and I think that's a result of what's been written about him. Monty said after we drafted him that he wanted Austin to attack. So I know Monty isn't putting the handcuffs on him. He's still real young and has plenty of time to get better. I'm not giving up on him.
As for Xavier henry... I think monty knows what he's got in Darius Miller... IMO he's letting henry get out there and play so that he can (at least try) to raise his trade value. Miller should be a Hornet (or pelican... whatever) for a long time. he's everything that Henry is not. Miller can shoot... he can defend, rebound and pass.
We have a few holes to fill for next season though...
I think Rivers truly is our PG of the future.
We'll need a solid SG to back-up EG... and start for EG when he's hurt.
We need a bonafide stud SF. Miller is at least for now a good back-up SF.
We need one more athletic BIG. Doesn't have to be a back-to-the-basket scorer, but somebody that can play defense, grab some boards, and eat fouls.
Imagine how good this Pelicans team will be when/if everyone gets healthy or just healthy enough to where Gordon/Ryno and the brow is on the court together. I guarantee you other teams will fear the beak