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Thread: Hornetsí Rivers talks NBA adjustment, early struggles and lessons learned

  1. #1
    All-Star Razorpens's Avatar
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    Jul 2012

    Hornetsí Rivers talks NBA adjustment, early struggles and lessons learned

    ORTLAND, Ore. — Hornets guard Austin Rivers is only 20, a rookie who spent just one year in college before becoming the No. 10 pick in the 2012 draft. But he’s been accustomed to scrutiny since he was a highly regarded high school player, thanks to his lack of a clear position, demonstrative personality on the court, famous last name and decision to play at the most polarizing of all college programs, Duke.

    His first month and a half in the NBA hasn’t always been pretty. Rivers crafted his reputation as a teenager on his ability to score and make plays. In five of his first 16 games as a pro, though, he didn’t make a single shot. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Rivers is a tweener who is at his best with the ball in his hands but hasn’t yet shown the ability, even at the college level, to be a facilitator or a traditional point man. In New Orleans, coach Monty Williams has played him alongside Greivis Vasquez, giving him the green light to attack at will but also leaving much of the ball-handling to Rivers’ veteran running mate.

    With the absence of guard Eric Gordon, Rivers has been shoved into a large role: He’s averaging eight points and 2.8 assists in 28.4 minutes per game, playing a lot despite his limitations on the defensive end, some bothersome ankle injuries and a 35.2 field-goal percentage that would have many rookies pinned to the bench. Williams doesn’t have many alternatives, so Rivers gets to ride the waves as he learns from doing rather than from watching.

    Speaking with Rivers on Sunday before the Hornets faced the Blazers, you wouldn’t know that he has had a rough go at all. Perhaps it helped that his conversation with SI.com occurred at a high point individually, as Rivers was coming off a season-high 27-point effort against the Timberwolves on Friday. And while Rivers had scored in double figures just seven times in his first 21 games, four of those performances had come in the previous five games. Rivers was eager to focus on his recent progress while also expressing some of the same “I am who I am” sentiments that made him a quintessential “you either love him or hate him” figure at Duke.

    SI.com: I imagine you’re feeling good after the big night against Minnesota?

    Austin Rivers: It’s been progressively getting better for me the last four or five games. It’s not just about scoring. I’ve just been aggressive, I’ve been talking on defense and trying to lead and getting out and pushing [the ball], making assists. Before this streak the last four or five games, I would have a good game, then a bad game; I was just up and down. I just started thinking, “I’ve got to find my consistency, what I can bring every single night.” One thing I told myself: I need to be aggressive and let the defense know I’m out there. When I leave the court, I have to make sure the other team knows that Austin played tonight. Whether that’s zero points and 10 rebounds, zero points and six fouls, I’ve got to let them know. I just started being aggressive and stopped worrying about what happens. If I fail, I’m going to fail doing it the hard way. I’ve just been playing great lately. I’ve just got to keep it up.

    SI.com: Can you pinpoint a moment over the last couple of weeks where a switch flipped for you?

    {Mod edit-please do not post full articles. Post a part of the article and include a link to the rest of the article}


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  3. #3
    Basketball Guru GuardianAngel25's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    One thing about him is he is NBA ready beyond his years. In terms of treating his body, studying film, working on every little thing to be consistent. I liked him in college at Duke. Never really thought it would be possible to get him, much less Rivers and Davis. After drafting him and seeing his temperament I can find very few young guards I would take over him. The kid is already one of the hardest workers in NBA at 20? What more can you ask for then someone who genuinely cares about his team and being great. Not just caring and wanting, but actually doing what it takes day in and day out to become one of the greats. He reminds me of a mature and less cocky Kobe Bryant. How often does that type of temperament and belief in yourself come around? We ar lucky to have him!

  4. #4
    What a brilliant interview. I am just happy.

  5. #5
    Hornets fan from NJ! Vinny6420's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    He'll be OK
    New Orleans Pelicans-Seattle Seahawks-Atlanta Braves-Anaheim Ducks

    RIP HunnyB

    This fits HunnyB/FlyGirl so well- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyzTiSEfM00

  6. #6
    Best part will be sticking it to all the haters when he's producing night in, night out.

  7. #7
    Hall of Famer Davisistheman's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    As expected this kids head is planted squarely on his shoulders. He know how great he can be, but he also know he has to earn it. The anti-premodonna. Whatever his physical ceiling is, you're looking at a budding leader in this league for years to come.

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