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Thread: Making the Transition: Is Austin Rivers Really the Worst?

  1. #1

    Making the Transition: Is Austin Rivers Really the Worst?

    (By Michael McNamara and Jason Calmes)

    Just yesterday, ESPN Insider ran a story that set out to answer one simple question- Is Austin Rivers Having the Worst Season Ever? For those without Insider access or who simply lack the desire to read another anti-Rivers column, the author (Kevin Pelton) uses a player metric that he created for the NBA called WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) and according to his projection, Austin Rivers is on pace to have the lowest score in the thirty-four year history of this metric. In order to balance out the perspective and help the answer his own question, we have posed some questions ourselves.

    Is the Season Over Already?

    Pelton is projecting how Rivers is finishing the season, but he is using the numbers Rivers has just a third of a way through the season. For the projection to be accurate, Rivers' numbers over the final two-thirds of the season would have to mirror what we have seen from the first third. Here's the problem with that, though- his numbers already look drastically different over these past three weeks when you compare them to what he was producing earlier in the season. Since December 7th, his points per game has risen by 50%, his field goal percentage is up 12%, and he has increased his rebounds and three-pointers made per game, all while decreasing his turnovers.

    Even if he just maintains the numbers that he has produced in this recent ten-game stretch over the rest of the year, his end of season numbers will be quite respectable as the horrific numbers he posted in the first 16 games will be diluted. But what if he continues to improve? We have seen major jumps in the last three weeks, and while it might be unrealistic to see the numbers spike that much again, is it beyond the realm of comprehension that a guy who works as hard as Austin does will get even better? We have seen his PER practically double over this stretch, and even if he just maintains this recent play for the rest of the year, we are looking at a PER close to 10. Another jump in production could put him in the very respectable 11-13 region should Rivers sustain that improved play throughout the remainder of the season.

    Increased individual numbers combined with better play from the Hornets as a team (and more wins) will drastically increase Rivers WARP numbers. It would take actual regression from Rivers at this point to maintain Pelton's projection, and it would be surprising to see Rivers or the team move backward. This regression would also have to maintained while netting the significant minutes he has played up to this point. This could be affected by Monty reducing his minutes per his decision, injury, and an altered role to due to the expected return of Eric Gordon.

    To read the rest of the article, click here
    @mcnamara247

  2. #2
    no, the season is not over but it is fair to say that he is on his way

    let's be objective here, if this was not about a hornet, we would probably think it would be a fair question

  3. #3
    Making the Transition: Is Austin Rivers Really the Worst?
    The answer is NO WAY. Articles like Pelton's are part of the reason i don't care about metrics. I watch the games.
    I use an advanced metric called EYEBALLS.

  4. #4
    Pretty cool. Mr. West's Avatar
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    There are worse players in the NBA now than Rivers... They just play < 10 minutes a game. I say this as a fan of the guy who thinks that Rivers will be a starter, but I believe that it was Michael himself that said "You guys all love advanced stats, you just don't know it yet..." Well according to the stats, Rivers is bad. Which is okay, he's getting better according to the eye test and I have high hopes for him.

    But he's bad now.
    Last edited by Mr. West; 12-27-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CP4MVP View Post
    no, the season is not over but it is fair to say that he is on his way

    let's be objective here, if this was not about a hornet, we would probably think it would be a fair question
    This entire article is objective. Read all of it and let the board know what you agree/disagree with.

    It was a fair question to ask based on one single metric but we have some questions of our own in this article and we think we have come up with a clear answer to his question. If others disagree, fine, but Jason and I wanted to provide balance to the conversation. That is always our main goal

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDatHornet View Post
    The answer is NO WAY. Articles like Pelton's are part of the reason i don't care about metrics. I watch the games.
    I use an advanced metric called EYEBALLS.
    Thank you so much for this statement.....

  7. #7
    All World Contributor FlyGirl's Avatar
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    Before the season began I said I'd be willing to see what Rivers looked like in his 2nd, 3rd season as a Hornet and I stand by it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by HunnyB View Post
    Before the season began I said I'd be willing to see what Rivers looked like in his 2nd, 3rd season as a Hornet and I stand by it.
    Exactly how I felt going in after we picked him. I mean now a days...people see first round and think its automatically supposed to mean that guy is going to be a instant impact player. I mean we already got that guy in the same draft in Davis....so i definetly wasn't expecting another one. Be real these NBA drafts are so hard to measure cuz it really is based of potential more than any other draft besides maybe baseball.

    I like his attitude and just from that you know he's going to work hard to get better...but right now he's taking his lumps...it the only way you learn.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMcNamara View Post
    This entire article is objective. Read all of it and let the board know what you agree/disagree with.

    It was a fair question to ask based on one single metric but we have some questions of our own in this article and we think we have come up with a clear answer to his question. If others disagree, fine, but Jason and I wanted to provide balance to the conversation. That is always our main goal
    It's a good read honestly. In response to the question posed in the article on Play poorly or not to play...
    I really think its a blessing in disguise EG missed all these games and Austin has been getting starter minutes. (hurt his metric numbers yes..but who cares really?)
    The improvement i've seen from game 1 till now has been TREMENDOUS.
    In my opinion accelerated improvement due to the amount of mins he is logging.
    Now just think about this small sampling and the improvement we've already seen.... Project that to next year.
    My eyeball metric tells me we have a beast lurking.
    Last edited by WhoDatPelican; 12-27-2012 at 12:16 PM.

  10. #10
    That article was low hanging fruit waiting to be picked apart. The ESPN one I mean. Good job
    Dell Demps - the new Jeff Bower

  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless 42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDatHornet View Post
    The answer is NO WAY. Articles like Pelton's are part of the reason i don't care about metrics. I watch the games.
    I use an advanced metric called EYEBALLS.
    I think the correct response is to understand what the metric is or is not saying rather than to assume it's useless.
    __________
    "Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur." - François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by 42 View Post
    I think the correct response is to understand what the metric is or is not saying rather than to assume it's useless.
    Eh, I've watched / played enough basketball to trust my eyes and form my own opinion on a player.
    I know you guys dig metrics and that's cool, just not my thing.
    Larry sums it up for me.
    Last edited by WhoDatPelican; 12-27-2012 at 12:27 PM.

  13. #13
    If you're pro Rivers you'll find 1000 reasons why he'll be great in the future. You'll point out his ability to get into the lane and to the ft line, his handle, or his speed. If you're anti Rivers you'll also find 1000 reasons why he's terrible. You'll point out his inability to finish in the lane, and his ft %, or how bad his shot is. So that leaves us with metrics. The article written by 24-7 found flaws with WARP but often use other metrics to measure a player. I don't personally care about any metric. That's something writers and pundits came up with to have something to talk about. That takes us back to the court. Observing his job performance on the court does not make me feel like he's a cornerstone piece of the team. Do I think he's the worst ever, I don't know. What I do know is that the Hornets better insulate him from all this criticism so that it doesn't affect him his entire career. He's only 20 and this could kill his confidence.

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless 42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDatHornet View Post
    Eh, I've watched / played enough basketball to trust my eyes and form my own opinion on a player.
    I know you guys dig metrics and that's cool, just not my thing.
    Larry sums it up for me.
    "Please believe that I really really care about this and that I'm really really informed, but I really don't care to learn as much as I can about it."

    I just don't get that. Good thing I don't have to.

    I'll be the very first person to tell you that stats are only part of the story, but they are part of it.

  15. #15
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! wuggie's Avatar
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    This "worst" thing dosen't make a lick of sense to me because I've seen Julian Wright play.

    "I want ONLY 9 eyebrows in the starting lineup for the Hornets next year." I typed this before the draft lottery

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by wuggie View Post
    This "worst" thing dosen't make a lick of sense to me because I've seen Julian Wright play.
    Not to derail but I think that 90% of JuJu's problem was Byron Scott. He hated young players and never worked with them.

  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless 42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UptownFuz504 View Post
    If you're pro Rivers you'll find 1000 reasons why he'll be great in the future. You'll point out his ability to get into the lane and to the ft line, his handle, or his speed. If you're anti Rivers you'll also find 1000 reasons why he's terrible. You'll point out his inability to finish in the lane, and his ft %, or he bad his shot is. So that leaves us with metrics. The article written by 24-7 found flaws with WARP but often use other metrics to measure a player. I don't personally care about any metric. That's something writers and pundits came up with to have something to talk about. That takes us back to the court. Observing his job performance on the court does not make me feel like he's a cornerstone piece of the team. Do I think he's the worst ever, I don't know. What I do know is that the Hornets better insulate him from all this criticism so that it doesn't affect him his entire career. He's only 20 and this could kill his confidence.
    The stats should be viewed as different summaries of the play up to a point, and some (not all) correlate to future performance. They add to the conversation; they are not the conversation. That was one of the main points (I think) against the ESPN article. It relied so heavily on a quirky stat, was contradicted by others, and failed to take into account trends and `potential' that is best seen with the eye (at this point). That article was based on a fluke stat, and it was shown to be flawed as a result.

    An article saying Austin Rivers is hurting his team in the W column more than any other rookie . . . that might be true. It seems it. But this historically bad comment is just nuts. See, Beasely. That guy is a nightmare.

    I have zero worries about Rivers feelings being hurt by all this. At 20, he's a professional in the attitude department, and that puts him miles ahead of many NBA vets, frankly. I could be wrong.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by 42 View Post
    "Please believe that I really really care about this and that I'm really really informed, but I really don't care to learn as much as I can about it."

    I just don't get that. Good thing I don't have to.

    I'll be the very first person to tell you that stats are only part of the story, but they are part of it.
    I am not asking you to believe anything nor am i saying i am really informed. Just giving you my OPINION.
    Feel free to troll me and i'll do the same. Thats what makes the internet great.

    If i tried to learn EVERYTHING I CAN about everything i am interested in i wouldn't have much of a life.
    Knowing ENOUGH to make an opinion is about all i am looking for and i feel i can do that with the GAME of basketball...

    I really love video games but i don't care to learn about their creation or reviews or why this is the way it is in the game. I play them for entertainment and have played enough to know whether I FEEL one is good or not.
    Just an example. Eh?

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless 42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDatHornet View Post
    I am not asking you to believe anything nor am i saying i am really informed. Just giving you my OPINION.
    Feel free to troll me and i'll do the same. Thats what makes the internet great.

    If i tried to learn EVERYTHING I CAN about everything i am interested in i wouldn't have much of a life.
    Knowing ENOUGH to make an opinion is about all i am looking for and i feel i can do that with the GAME of basketball...

    I really love video games but i don't care to learn about their creation or reviews or why this is the way it is in the game. I play them for entertainment and have played enough to know whether I FEEL one is good or not.
    Just an example. Eh?
    No one is trolling you. I'm telling you I don't understand that position. I never said you were not informed. You stated where you drew the line of your interest: This is in, that is out.

  20. #20
    The Mad Titan    Contributor   
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    The stats sum up what happened, sure. What a lot of pro Rivers people are banking on is that he's learning from those games and getting better as the years go on. There's no metric for that. Personally, I believe he will be better down the road, but you can't really argue and say he's been great so far this season.
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  21. #21
    I don't think anyone is saying he's been great...but the worst season ever? i beg to differ.
    Hey, if 2 years from now he sucks i'll eat my crow with a smile.
    Lopez has already fed me a nice huge helping of crow...it's delicious!

  22. #22
    The Voice of Reason Contributor RaisingTheBar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UptownFuz504 View Post
    Not to derail but I think that 90% of JuJu's problem was Byron Scott. He hated young players and never worked with them.
    Didn't seem to stunt CP3 or West's growth.

  23. #23

    Making the Transition: Is Austin Rivers Really the Worst?

    Quote Originally Posted by RaisingTheBrow View Post
    Didn't seem to stunt CP3 or West's growth.
    Wright being out of the league tells you everything you need to know about him.

  24. #24
    Davis made me come home The JNR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nola Hornet View Post
    Wright being out of the league tells you everything you need to know about him.
    Yeah, it wasn't Byron because he could barely get off the bench in Toronto.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDatHornet View Post
    The answer is NO WAY. Articles like Pelton's are part of the reason i don't care about metrics. I watch the games.
    I use an advanced metric called EYEBALLS.
    Seriously. All these stats do is try to make things black and white, when they're not. If you know basketball and watch the games you'll come to better conclusions than any of these advanced metrics, but you actually have to know basketball.

    But at the same time, there's obviously a place in the game for them. If you look at guys like holinger getting hired by memphis, and all the moneyball stuff... Makes you wonder how much influence these things have on personal decisions. Though I'd think the decision usually comes down to the eyeballs of the coaches, scouts, and gm.

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