Then again, Avery came from a poor background and that certainly factored into his decision to go pro.
The NBA does practice preseason, but becaue of the number of games during the season and the travel, there is actually very, very little in-season practice. Most of the rare practices that are held are more like walk-throughs or shootarounds -- not the kind of thing where a young player can test himself against the best players in the world.
Talked to an ex-NBA bench rider who complained about how hard it was to stay in shape ... you couldn't work out hard because you might get called on to play in a game, and if that happened you had to seize the chance. The season becomes a constant struggle to get enough work in to keep your game sharp when you weren't playing and couldn't practice.
Players do improve, but rarely over the course of a season in which they are not playing. If they are going to develop, they have to do it in the offseason -- working alone and not in a structured setting or in preseason, when their coach is more concerned about putting together a team rather than individual player development.
I am one of those who believes that Avery needed another year to refine his game at Duke before being thrown into an NBA situation where he never got a chance to play or develop. He did come from a poor background and needed the money to help his mother, who was on disability. In those terms, he made $2.4 million on his first contract before he was out of the league.In financial terms, he earned one big payday, whih is what he wanted. basketball wise, it was a disastrous decision.
In my opinion, Austin Rivers should stay. He's improved a lot at Duke in his 1 year, but he certainly hasn't maxed out. There's no reason to think that he wouldn't continue to improve at a high rate at Duke. If he goes, I think he'll also improve at a high rate in the NBA, but he won't get consistent playing time his first year or two - especially since the teams drafting him would be playoff teams. I don't think he's the type to be happy sitting on the bench. Much better to stay at Duke, improve, get lots of playing time, and leave once he's improved his draft stock to the point where a team would be forced to play him.
From a basketball standpoint, Mason should go. He's a first round pick now; he's unlikely to improve his draft stock next year (just look at how many big men are in next year's freshman class - some of them will be one-and-done) unless he improves drastically. Right now, the perception is that he still has some potential and that he could be better on a team with a different system. That perception could change by next year.
Beal is listed at 6-3, 207 and 6'7'' wingspan. Austin is listed at 6-4, 200, 6'7'' wingspan.
Beal averaged 14.6 points on 43% field goals and 33% on 3's in 34 minutes. He averaged over 6 boards and 2 assists. He scored 20+ 5 times this season so far (still playing).
Rivers averaged 15.4 points on 43% field goals and 36% on 3's in 33 minutes. He averaged 3 boards and 2 assists. He scored 20+ 8 times this season.
So it sounds like they are pretty even, although Austin may have had a few more big games.
But when you start talking draft, Beal is on Chad Ford's board at #4 and Austin #20. NBADraft.net has Beal at #8 and Austin at #11. Hoopshype.com has Beal at #7 and Austin at #9. DraftExpress has Beal at #7 and Austin at #16.
If you take the Real Clear Politics method and average them, Beal's at 6.75 and Austin is at 14.
That's a wide discrepancy for two players who are pretty similar in skill and size and stats this past season. Why is that? For one thing, Austin got a lot of negative press early in the season. Most of the articles were dumb because they came after about two weeks of the season, and Austin has improved considerably. The rebounding discrepancy tells me Beal might be stronger and more physical at this point.
Here's what some of the writeups say -
Beal - decent size for an NBA 2; good decision maker; inconsistent shooting #s; good jumper off the dribble; not an elite athlete; undersized/tweener; played with other ball-dominant guards this year which didnt help stats.
Austin - not a point guard; looks for iso too much; excellent pick-roll player; combo guard; adequate explosiveness; needs to become less selfish; no left hand; great floater; struggles off the ball.
This year in the NBA, if you listen to the coaches when they talk about individual players and the extra-packed schedule, they talk about how hard it is for a player to get up to speed or improve because they aren't practicing very much.
To your other point, Will Avery was a short (listed at 6'2, but not really that tall) PG who was neither explosive enough nor a good enough shooter to start in the League. He was probably unwise to leave as early as he did because he needed more "PG savvy" and that's easier learned in college than in the pros. Austin Rivers is a decent-sized combo guard who has a good handle for a SG and a good shot for a PG. He should have a much easier time making it in the NBA than Avery did.
EDIT: I see Olympic Fan disagrees with me about NBA practices. I usually defer to his wisdom, so I'll admit it's possible he's right about this. It's certainly true this year, with the condensed schedule, but I will say it's not what I've heard in previous years. Although it's very possible I've heard wrong.
Last edited by Kedsy; 03-20-2012 at 11:25 AM.
Not every NBA player gets judged by his rookie season. If that was the case J.J. Redick would be out of the league by now.
In fact, if we have a starting 5 of Avery, Williams, Carrawell, Battier, and Boozer with Dunleavy, James, and the triad of spot-minute bigs in Sanders, Christensen, and Horvath off the bench, I think we'd have had a really good shot at winning a national championship. Oh well.
Hopefully Rivers and Mason decide to come back. We could use them, for sure.
i'll prolly get slammed for saying this, but, i think that nolan was a better player when he left duke than AR is now....take the name "rivers" off, and there's a different perception of him. I think he WILL be the man next year if he stays.......if he goes, he'll make $$$ and get lots of pine time...
imagine him guarding westbrook.....
"Either we're going down, or they are....... Kirk out!"
You make a good point about Austin guarding a guy like Westbrook. Austin needs to get physically stronger, to both body up on D and to finish stronger in the lane by absorbing contact.
Super "Took the liberty of capitalizing proper nouns in your quote above...." Dave
And if Rivers averaged 2 assists a game, I am surprised. (Hey, I just watched the 1991-92 documentary of Laettner, Hurley, et al. the night after the 75-70 loss--my, what a diminished thing college b-ball has become.)
For the season, did Duke AVERAGE more turnovers a game than assists? (Certainly it was close--or slightly turnover weighted--during their end-of-season swoon.)
Yes, the NBA draft often magnifies potential over accomplishment (Scheyer undrafted, anyone?); however, would any NBA decision-maker actually think this of young Rivers based on his past year at Duke: He makes his teammates better???
AR was the best player on our team last year. If he returns, he will be our best player next year too. He may or may not be ready to make an impact on an NBA team but I think we have *plenty* of evidence (including Scheyer who you cite) that NBA GM's draft more on who they believe a kid will become than who he is at the time he's drafted.