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Thread: ESPN: Austin Rivers: Player or Pedigree?

  1. #1

    Rant ESPN: Austin Rivers: Player or Pedigree?

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...-just-pedigree

    Just wanna say, I completely disagree with this guy's analysis. Rivers clearly has some weaknesses (and some strengths), but being ball-dominant chucker has NOT been one of them in his short NBA career. Bold text is my emphasis added.

    Being the son of a former NBA player has its advantages, but it certainly has its drawbacks.

    One of those is the constant comparisons. It could be physique, style of play or toughness. Regardless, until the son has proven himself, to scouts he's not Stephen Curry, he's "Dell Curry Jr."; he's not Austin Daye, he's "Darren Daye Jr."; he's not Al Horford, he's "Tito Horford Jr." And if you're already a junior like Mike Dunleavy Jr.? Well, you get another "Jr." tacked on for good measure.

    It might sound belittling, but scouts use it as a rite of passage for young players. Thus, it's a sign of respect earned when you force NBA talent evaluators to remember your name instead of your father's. So when "Dell Curry Jr." dropped 44 points on NC State and 29 on Duke as a freshman at Davidson, scouts finally knew who Stephen Curry was.

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    Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
    Rivers likes to score, but that's not all that makes a successful ball player.
    For New Orleans Hornets rookie Austin Rivers, however, the case is a little different. Because of his high school stardom, everyone knows him and his pedigree. And while he might be the son of championship-winning coach/former standout NBA player Glenn "Doc" Rivers, Austin's game bears little resemblance to that of his father's, let alone any former point guard. Doc is one of the most respected coaching minds in the sport, so it is surprising his son would exhibit few of the team-oriented characteristics of Doc's coaching philosophy.

    As such, I would never call Austin "Doc Rivers Jr.," because he has so little in common with Doc, who coaches the Boston Celtics. Doc was a point guard; Austin is a combo guard, which is NBA parlance for a guy who tries to play point but likes to shoot way too much. This is because Austin represents one of the toughest types of players to deal with: the egocentrist. This is not necessarily the pure negative you might assume. In fact, much of that label is based on how hard Rivers works. But it hurts his game.

    Rivers shows minimal game management skills and does not make plays for his teammates. As a result, he is struggling, and there are doubts among evaluators as to whether he will be a productive player, let alone excel in the league. Let's break down why Rivers' pedigree might speak more than his current skills and performance.

    Strengths and weaknesses
    Strengths:
    His father combined a great first step and finishing ability with excellent game management and the ability to make plays for others. Austin knows how to score, but so far does not possess those two team-building skills, or at least has not exhibited them.

    Austin Rivers has an explosive first step that allows him to get into the paint and to the front of the rim almost at will. He seeks contact going to the rim and will finish through with strength and/or get to the free throw line (college FTA rate: 0.458). He possesses a nice touch on high, off-the-glass shots around the rim, though he's not an above-the-rim athlete. But his ability to accelerate from standing-still position and change direction compensate for this. He does an incredible job of creating momentum toward the basket by backing up and building a head of steam.

    Rivers likes to go right, but has a great right-to-left crossover; however, he still wants to get back to his right hand to finish, so he'll either put up a runner/floater or try to underhand scoop on the left side. He's not afraid of "the moment," and his dribble penetration skills and "tough shot"-making ability allow him to isolate and get a shot or get to the free throw line.
    {Mod edit-Please do not post full pay for content articles}

  2. #2
    Pretty cool. Mr. West's Avatar
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    I would actually be happier if Rivers would chuck up more shots for now. We need to score more from the wings and if he's going to shoot inefficiently anyway he might as well try and get in a groove.

  3. #3
    This is the second ESPN piece this week which says "Austin Rivers sucks because he's a conscienceless chucker", which is totally off-base so far in his pro career. He actually sucks because he's incapable of making a layup and is more physically overwhelmed than any rookie in recent memory. His passing, playmaking, and mentality have been a pleasant surprise, and are actually the only areas I'd say he's doing well. This is lazy analysis built on preconceptions of Rivers as a college player. I know this is a hard team to watch, but this is their job.

  4. #4
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! wuggie's Avatar
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    LOL wow they clearly don't watch games.

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  5. #5
    Bradley Beal is averaging 33% shooting and taking 10FGAs per game to acheive his stats.
    11.1/1.8/3

    Dion Waiters had some impressive games but he's also chucking 13.7 times to achieve his stats. His FG% is steadily dropping to 37% and is continuing to fall.
    13.9/2.4/2.4

    Rivers is shooting a poor 32% but he is only take 7.7FGAs right now. He is comparing well to his peers.
    7.7/3/2


    Even guys like Jeff Taylor, Deron Lamb, Kim English, etc are struggling. I'm not worried about Austin as his deficiencies will be corrected with time and development. His body needs to mature and strengthen in order for him to take contact and finish. His shooting is already getting better and showing improvement. He's been averaging 40% shooting and 50% behind the arc in the last 5 games. An improvement from his horrible start on offense. The only thing stopping him from averaging 50% from the field is his inability to finish around the basket after contact. This will come in time with experience and growth.

  6. #6
    I'm not the hardest working employee out there. But I am thinking, if I was a sports writer and I am going to write an article about someone, maybe I should watch them play instead of just re-printing a 2 yr old draftexpress profile.

  7. #7
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Silverfoxx's Avatar
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    Question A Question About Rivers

    Serious question, I'm not jumping the broom here. Can anyone name Great NBA players with similar starts in their rookie season that turned out to be great players??? Please choose players that have similar game to Rivers, or stats.


    I just need to hear a positive fact about this season. I'm praying Rivers can turn it around, heck let Miller evolve into Paul Pierce
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  8. #8
    the more and more i watch rivers the more i think monty was right, he will be a PG for us

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  9. #9
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  10. #10
    kinda early for this since his season is far from over..

  11. #11
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Bee-Fense's Avatar
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    The only player that I have found is Jamal Crawford who posted very similar stats.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by AD23 View Post
    kinda early for this since his season is far from over..
    It's not too early. If you can pay at ths level, you can play at this level. Yes you can always get better and I believe he will, but he's not the savior that some people think he is (or going to be). Truth of the matter is that we picked a 2nd round player with the 10th pick. If I'm wrong I'll happily eat crow but Rivers has average written all over him. Between summer league, pre-season, and the first 11 games, I don't see star potential. He'll probably have a long career based on his work ethic but he's no star.

  13. #13
    All World Contributor FlyGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UptownFuz504 View Post
    It's not too early. If you can pay at ths level, you can play at this level. Yes you can always get better and I believe he will, but he's not the savior that some people think he is (or going to be). Truth of the matter is that we picked a 2nd round player with the 10th pick. If I'm wrong I'll happily eat crow but Rivers has average written all over him. Between summer league, pre-season, and the first 11 games, I don't see star potential. He'll probably have a long career based on his work ethic but he's no star.
    You keep saying this but yet you're in every Rivers thread talking about how he's not going to be what people think he is or what he will be. Do you really believe he'll get better or are you just saying that so your plate of crow won't be as big if/when he does get better?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by HunnyB View Post
    You keep saying this but yet you're in every Rivers thread talking about how he's not got to be what people think he is or he will be. Do you really believe he'll get better or are you just saying that so your plate of crow won't be as big if/when he does get better?
    Demps warned us all that he is a project that will take time, and people like UptownFuz don't want to listen. He wants Rivers to put up numbers right now, and that just isn't the reality of the situation. I think I'm just going to start ignoring these clowns.

  15. #15
    Fire Monty!! Contributor AD23forMVP's Avatar
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    Austin is shooting 30.3% on the season. I honestly don't feel certain on a lot of things with this team, but that number puts me at ease because I know for a fact that he will not shoot 30% for his career.
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  16. #16
    Rivers continues to make beautiful passes, once again tonight he had 6 assists

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bee-Fense View Post
    The only player that I have found is Jamal Crawford who posted very similar stats.

    Monta Ellis's first season stats are just as bad if not worse then River's current stats, as with Lou Williams. Im sure though that there have been plenty of great/quasi all star players who have had regrettable rookie years.

    I think the kid will be fine, he has the ability to break down defenders and get to the cup. Its been painful to see him miss so many of those layups, but it would be naive to think that those shots wont start to drop after he has put some extra muscle on. Plus his passing and running of the offense have become dramatically better then since the season started. Not to mention he is a smart, coachable kid who seems to strive to improve his game. I think those are the intangibles that will allow River's to eventually become a good/great player. As mentioned before he is a project, you have to take the ups and downs. But the skills he does possess will allow for significant improvement as the years progress.

  18. #18
    A Soulful Sports Fan Contributor Eman5805's Avatar
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    I can see the savvy. Austin's only problem is the youth. Someone said they doubt he'll be a starter on a championship team. That's fine. He'll be one of the first people off the bench and play well in that role. He's passed the ball well off pick and rolls and has consistently gotten good looks. He just needs to keep plugging away.

    After a lousy start, he's shooting 42% from 3 over the last 5 games or so.
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  19. #19
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Obviously Rivers isn't playing well right now which is expected since he has alot of areas to develop in his game. I'm not surprised at all and view him as a long-term project since he does have alot of holes in his game like his athleticism, strength, ability to finish, shooting, and defense. He does handle the ball well, not on elite level like CP3 or Rondo, but very well and he's showing good passing skills.

    The real question is whether he was worth the 10th pick in the draft when there were guys who were either more polished, skilled, or athletic available. I always felt Rivers was probably more worth of a post-lottery pick since he was such a project. I think the team drafted him because of his ability to play the point and he probably was the best PG available, but I disagree with that thought process. I don't think he was the best prospect available. It doesn't mean that Rivers won't pan out or develop, but is it worth the that wait since its not a given he will pan out.

    People here are comparing him to Ellis, Lou Williams, or Crawford. Ellis and Williams were 2nd round picks while Crawford struggled for years as an inefficient scorer on bad teams. Also, some are saying that he's still young and will get better while younger guys like MKG and Drummond are actually playing well right now.

    Basically the real question is whether Rivers was worth the 10th pick in the draft and I still think the answer is no. Doesn't mean he won't develop into a fine player, but not sure whether it is worth drafting the 10th pick.

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  20. #20
    All World Contributor FlyGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornets78 View Post
    Obviously Rivers isn't playing well right now which is expected since he has alot of areas to develop in his game. I'm not surprised at all and view him as a long-term project since he does have alot of holes in his game like his athleticism, strength, ability to finish, shooting, and defense. He does handle the ball well, not on elite level like CP3 or Rondo, but very well and he's showing good passing skills.

    The real question is whether he was worth the 10th pick in the draft when there were guys who were either more polished, skilled, or athletic available. I always felt Rivers was probably more worth of a post-lottery pick since he was such a project. I think the team drafted him because of his ability to play the point and he probably was the best PG available, but I disagree with that thought process. I don't think he was the best prospect available. It doesn't mean that Rivers won't pan out or develop, but is it worth the that wait since its not a given he will pan out.

    People here are comparing him to Ellis, Lou Williams, or Crawford. Ellis and Williams were 2nd round picks while Crawford struggled for years as an inefficient scorer on bad teams. Also, some are saying that he's still young and will get better while younger guys like MKG and Drummond are actually playing well right now.

    Basically the real question is whether Rivers was worth the 10th pick in the draft and I still think the answer is no. Doesn't mean he won't develop into a fine player, but not sure whether it is worth drafting the 10th pick.
    So how long do you wait to see if he'll pan out then? You said 2 days after we drafted him that he shouldn't be judged harshly next season and now we're asking if he's worth the wait? When people start asking if he's worth the wait that to me sounds like we want him out NOW. Man. If a rookie doesn't produce fast he's outta here. Instant gratification or bust.

  21. #21
    The Mad Titan    Contributor   
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    Rivers needs to get a NBA body, a competent 3 point shot, and a 15 foot pull up and those lanes upen up a ton after that. All of this takes time, not many players at 19 had all of those tools along with vision and quickness. It's absurd to exect Rivers to have that by now. Lillard seems to possess a lot of this, but he's also 2 year older. LeBron had an NBA body, vision, and quickness, but his shot was not there. Kobe had to Develop a shot and get a little bigger. I use these guys as examples not because i think rivers will reach their level, but because these guys were gifted beyond reason and it still took them time. Be patient please. If by year 3 you dont see development, then it's time to panic.

  22. #22
    All World Contributor FlyGirl's Avatar
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    A poll was taken on draft night on if we were happy with the Rivers pick at 10. Anybody remember how that poll went?

  23. #23
    Humor is reason gone mad Savagetaint's Avatar
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    I think the best option besides taking Rivers at 10 would've been to trade the pick, either for more picks or for a young veteran. No guard picked in the draft, other than Lillard, has been performing at a high level. I think Rivers will be fine based on his work ethic and his competitive drive. It looks like he is thinking too much and is trying to make the perfect play instead of just letting the game come to him. Once he stops worrying about making mistakes and his instincts take over his play will improve.
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  24. #24
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HunnyB View Post
    So how long do you wait to see if he'll pan out then? You said 2 days after we drafted him that he shouldn't be judged harshly next season and now we're asking if he's worth the wait? When people start asking if he's worth the wait that to me sounds like we want him out NOW. Man. If a rookie doesn't produce fast he's outta here. Instant gratification or bust.
    Just because I said he shouldn't be judged harshly this season doesn't mean he should be worth the wait. One year is not a long wait. After 2-3 years, sure its a concern, but alot of people think a top 10 pick should contribute right away as well. I knew he wouldn't and felt comfortable waiting a year or two since the team had a young core with Davis, Gordon, and Anderson. I do think it will take him a few years to be a steady efficient contributor, but I think other prospects would contribute sooner if giving the amount of playing time Rivers has seen.

  25. #25
    All World Contributor FlyGirl's Avatar
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    I don't know why people do this to themselves. He was the 10th pick. Whether he's worth it or not still remains to be seen. Who cares that a lot of people think a #10 pick should contribute right away? Fact is, some do, and some don't. Some have seamless transitions and some don't. There are a few factors that go into play. Are they learning a different position? Does the system he's in strengthen or weakens his skillset? Do they have NBA bodies? Are they trying too hard? Are they trying to incorporate too many things into their games all at once? Do they have correct coaching? I know he's been frustrating a lot of people but people should give the kid time and stop worrying about what other people are saying about him. If one year is not a long wait then I don't know why so many are crying after one month. I'm willing to give him at least a year. At least.

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