True, none of us can get inside any player's mind, and probably none of us are in the locker room, practices, etc., to see how things really go between players and with coaches. All we can go on is what we see and stats. Josh was no bust, he was a productive player and you correctly noted his recognition. However, there's a significant number of us who note when a player seems to have a negative demeanor on the court. We're not talking swagger or intensity, we're talking negativity, and there's a difference. Dismissing it out of hand implies we've never had this issue, unless Bobby Hurley's freshman year is the only case you'll concede (and even then, for all his sulking/whining, he was a positive vocal leader with teammates).
Last edited by cspan37421; 03-25-2012 at 10:58 AM. Reason: added ed. comment
How are you gonna call Austin a one trick pony and then detail successful careers of others who have thrived off a couple of skills? Doesn't make sense.
Austin is a special talent and a hard worker. He probably knows the NBA schedule better than his class schedule. NBA players don't just practice with their teams. It's a LIFESTYLE. There's no class to go to. It's basketball year round - you know kinda like how Austin grew up.
As far as size goes, I'm just gonna end all of your speculation on that. Jeff Teague, John Lucas Jr, (who I happen to know that Austin is better than right NOW), John Wall, Jeremy Lin, JJ Reddick, Mike Conley Jr, and a host of others are all similarly situated or smaller than Austin and they ALL get "minutes". Austin was shaking John Wall before he even came to Duke - think about that. In fact, does ANYONE remember what Durant looked like when he left Texas? Does it look like Rubio is bench pressing 300 pounds? Corey Brewer is 6'9 and a 188 pounds!! Come on guys - some things just don't matter.
NBA teams don't care about developing their players? This is all but absurd when you consider what the Lakers have done with Bynum, the time the Pistons gave Darko, and the fact that the Wizards gave Kwame a personal assistant. These are grown men so you can't MAKE them work out but if they want it then the NBA has the facilities, the trainers, and the personnel. I know Tim Grover's name for a reason and so does everyone else.
Then you managed to call two players who have never switched teams journeyman. JJ is nearly the definition of a team letting a player mature (remember they would NOT get rid of him) and G is on a team determined to rebuild through the draft while developing that young squad. Additionally, Duhon was a second round pick and he's picked up 3 contracts now - sounds pretty successful if you ask me.
You think Tyler Thornton at full speed is better than Rondo at half-speed? LOL!
Next you'll be telling me that Lebron James should have gone to college too.
As to the supposed chemistry issues, I think it's out of line to lay them at Austin's feet. Can he appear t have bad body language at times? Sure, but no one outside of duke basketball knows what went on and accusing or insinuating that it is an 18 yo freshman's fault just isn't right.
What do you guys think about MP2 and the draft? It looks like he will only go if he gets drafted in the first round, is that likely?
The assumption that Austin's demeanor is the root cause of the perceived team chemistry problem is a bit of a stretch. The kid gives his all everytime out there on the floor, one of our best defenders out there, and he's only a freshman... I believe he's the only one this year to slap the floor, something that many here have been asking for, he got that killer instinct that a championship team
has to have. The kid definitely has a game face when he's on the floor, what's wrong with that, I've seen him celebrate with and for his teammates during games. The kid indeed has swagger which an elite team needs in order to take and absorb the punches that will be thrown it's way, I'd say I would love to see more of our kids with half the swagger that Laettner, Hurley, Hill, Jason Williams or Redick.
Could there have been chemistry problem because others felt the pressure to play well or have there minutes given to a freshman? Perhaps, but that is then their responsibility to work that much harder to keep that from happening!
Austin appears to be a good kid, I for one hope he returns... We need his skillset to go with our plethora of outside shooters.
Most of us who have played basketball at any level have played with "that guy." The guy who never passes, overdribbles, takes ridiculous ill-advised shots because he can hit 1 of 6, and either plays no defense or is constantly trying for cheap steals while the man he's supposed to be guarding is open under the basket. It's hard to play well with a teammate like that, hard to commit yourself to getting back on defense or make any effort to get open on offense since you know you won't get the ball. After awhile you just give up.
I think some people are trying to paint Austin as "that guy." But he isn't. He's not close. He seems to always give maximum effort, has committed himself to improving on D (to the point where he was our best perimeter defender), and when he dribbles into a triple-team or puts up a three early in the shot clock, it seems to be more of a freshman judgment thing rather than a one-on-five mindset. When the game is on the line he wants the ball and wants to be the guy who scores, but that's a very different thing. Trying to pin any perceived "chemistry" problems on Austin just seems unfair to me.
I would love for him to stay, but it's mostly out of selfish reasons. Although it's not like he can't continue to improve at Duke, there's not a ton he needs. The short list is FT shooting and midrange jumper. His FT shooting improved through the year quite a bit, so although his ending average wasn't great, it started REALLY low, IIRC, so I'd like to see a rolling average). I don't think he's used a midrange jump shot much (Miles could), but then again, he hasn't had to. I'm not sure if he stayed he would need to, either. He could, but he just probably wouldn't need it in college.
I have no idea what teams need and how Mason has looked vs. others in any summer leagues he's played in. I think he's really good, but he's not bulky, and the NBA can be a pretty physical league. I'd love for him to stay and dominate as a senior, assuming he gets enough touches. It would have the added benefit of him tutoring MP3. It's a really tough call and whatever happens, I wish him the best!
i think living down your father and brother's legacy while trying to BE THE MAN when a more talented youngster with ANOTHER famous father comes to town and shines the light on you NOT being the man even more could possibly add to team dysfunction...
saves duke indeed....
"Either we're going down, or they are....... Kirk out!"
90% of this thread is embarrassing to me as a Duke fan. Austin Rivers completely bought in to everything about Duke basketball during his time here. He was our best player and single handedly gave us a dramatic victory at UNC that will be replayed constantly for as long as that rivalry exists. I think that a lot of people are projecting things into Austin's personality that were mostly generated by Duke haters - if you ever listened to him talk about Duke or the team, you would realize that he was a great representative for us.
It's clear that some people still haven't gotten over players leaving early, a full 13 years after the meltdown over the '99 exodus. We had people ripping on Kyrie last year. Like it or not, that's college basketball now and K has made the decision to recruit players who are open about potentially leaving after one year.
Any shortcomings to Rivers game were basketball related, not personality related. I saw no evidence that he was trying to play selfishly. If he didn't exactly master the line between scoring and playmaking, it's probably because he was a freshman one year removed from high school ball. If our team didn't exactly mesh on the court this year, it's dumb to turn on our own guys by blaming it on any one player or another, and it's really dumb to speculate that it was the result of negative personality motivation by anyone. If Austin leaves, I certainly hope that the team that we have will click better than this year's did at the end, but that won't mean that it wouldn't have clicked better with Austin there anyway, no matter what Doug Gottlieb says.
I agree with Sir Stealth. Let's have more class than to tear down a teenager who did his best.
The one thing Kwame (1st pick), Darko (2), and Bynum (10) all had in common is that they were picked so high in their drafts, and also because dominant centers are so rare (just ask the Sixers). Speaking of JJ, he was 11th pick overall, and for all that patience and hard work, he's established himself as a nice 6th man on a pretty decent team. Let's rewind a bit; if memory serves there was also a lot of discussion about how JJ would do in the NBA after leaving Duke, with a pretty wide range of opinions. All-star? Nope, doesn't look like that's going to happen for JJ. Bust? Nope, that's off the table too, he's proven he can play in the league.
In addition to his game, Austin also has the huge advantage of his dad's experience, so maybe his career will be better than JJs. He also had a great season as a freshman in the ACC. As good as he is, I don't think he'll have NBA success next season that Kyrie is having.
Supa, sorry if my post got you all worked up and rhetorical, but I gotta ask you one question: are you telling me Austin can be as good as Lebron?
"We are men of action, lies do not become us."
K has made the decision to recruit players who are open about potentially leaving after one year. And so far, it is not working out very well for the team. Sure, there are the regular season wins, but, when money ball starts, it is not fairing very well.
Many people blamed him the season following his summer surgery for what they considered his lackluster play on offense, in particular, his failure to come to the ball when posting with a guy leaning over his back and his poor outside jumper, in particular, and his gripping with teammates. Let me address the first issue. Josh held the defense together and was the principal defensive rebounder and he played both roles spectacularly. He played a one man zone in the middle, blocked, got a piece of, or altered a remarkable number of shots put up by penetrators, and detered many shots by them altogether. At the same time, he played his "man" inside almost always to advantage and did a specular job on the defensive board. I think that those were jobs one and two that that Duke team needed from Josh and would be more than surprised if K did not make that crystal clear.
On the offensive end, lets not forget that the guy was expending a tremendous amount of energy on the defensive end, needed to be there at the end, and had that recently operated back that probably made it no picnic trying to go for some of the passes thrown to him. The guy who was supposed to be the guy's leader was having problems of his own, caused only in part we were to later learn by a hairline fracture in his foot, and was no shrinking violet. If there were sparks flying, I doubt that McRob was always the precipitant cause, and could understand if he didn't have good reason to carp. As it is, he put up more than respectable numbers. Without what I thought was a remarkbable performance by him, given all the circumstances, Duke would have gotten murdered that season.
As for leaving early, the guy had a back that required an operation before he was 20 years old. Maybe he had better reasons than most for leaving early, since he could not have known how long that back would hold up. In fact, I think thta it's reasonably clear that the back hads kept McRoberts from reaching his potential. Indiana and then the Lakers saw enough in him to have him starting at various times, the Lakers picked him up and then started him at the beginning of the season, so he must have shown his coaches plenty; it is not unreasonable to thinki that the back just doesn't allow him to perform at his best for long periods or in the intensity of gametime. The fact that he is still around in the pros speaks to the fact that he has a lot more going than guys here are saying, and that he cannot be a difficult teammate to get along with either.
I agree with Sage that whatever chemistry problems there might have been on that team were attributable to the fact that many of the major players were green (I wouldn't have thought of that unless the Man said it). I also thought that team played up to its potential.
The problem with Austin is, he wasn't, is not, and might NEVER be, Kyrie. The best thing Austin did was stick one big one in the ears of Zeller, the bad blue and all their rotten fans.
That's the difference.
Other than the fact that they're both highly touted recruits who appear to be one and dones at Duke, there is no comparison in my opinion between Austin and Kyrie. Austin is a great talent, but there's no talk of him going number 1 and very little talk of him being a top 10 pick. They are different types of players. It seemed that the team enjoyed playing with Kyrie more because he without a doubt made everyone else better, Dawkins was raining threes and even driving to the whole, Mason was running the floor and getting 4 ally-oops a game, Kyle was shooting well, and Nolan was being a scorer and playing really well. Austin is a different type of player, he's not a transcendent point guard like Kyrie and I could see where frustration could arise betwixt he and his teammates.
Bottom line, comparing Austin to Kyrie is unfair, and whatever Austin decides, it is what it is. I would never question Austin's work ethic or the passion he brought to the floor every second he was out there. To say his teammates were less happy with him out there than with Kyrie isn't insulting, its a fair assessment, although its something that none of us will ever know because I can guarantee you that no Duke player or coach will ever say so. I think Austin is ready to go to the league if he so chooses.
Luol Deng's team also went to the Final Four and was a couple of bad breaks in the semifinal from also winning it all. Again, he seemed to fit in very well on that team - his desire to leave after one year didn't seem to hurt us one bit.
If you think that Kyrie Irving's desire to go to the NBA hurt our team last year, I personally think that that is not a reasonable opinion. He fit in fantastically right from day 1 and then got hurt. It didn't work to reintegrate him on the fly coming off the injury, but that hardly seems to be a result of leaning toward the NBA. He was visibly fully committed to the team throughout the season and a great teammate even under very difficult circumstances. I think that a lot of people believe that if the toe injury had not happened, we would be talking about 2011 Duke as one of the greatest college basketball teams ever, and a back to back champion at that (does anyone even remember that we actually one a national championship just 2 years ago?).
This year is the only year that you could even reasonably argue that something was wrong with the makeup on the team that had a one and done player. I personally don't lay that at Rivers feet, as he was first team all-ACC, our best player, and single handedly gave us one of Duke's most memorable and satisfying victories ever, but at least this team did have problems clicking the way it should have. There are several other players who also impacted the makeup the team and a million reasons why things didn't work out, so it seems like flawed reasoning to blame the recruitment of one and done players. Taken as a whole and especially considering that the current overwhelming postseason favorite relies heavily on one and done players, your assessment leaves a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy.
Last edited by pfrduke; 03-25-2012 at 05:31 PM.