The New Orleans Pelicans have a new name and a new lease on their chances in the NBA coming into the 2013-2014 season. Not only do they get the sophomore season of potential star Anthony Davis, but they also added both Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday this summer, making them one of the most exciting young teams in the league.
Another player that is likely going to be part of the mix in New Orleans this season is another player coming into his second NBA season, Austin Rivers. After a rookie season that is painful to remember, Rivers is looking to rebound in his second year and possibly make some noise.
According to HoopsWorld’s Steve Kyler, Rivers has his sights set on winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year and even the Most Improved Player awards. He knows that he’s likely going to be left out of the starting five with the arrival of Evans to the Pelicans, so at least he has accepted that reality.
As for the reality of what kind of NBA player he is, that seems like an entirely different story. There is no way that Rivers is taking home either of those awards. After all, this is a guy who struggled so mightily last season that he posted a 5.95 PER, the worst of any player drafted in the top 10 in their rookie season.
Look, it’s not far-fetched to believe that Rivers won’t improve. He has reportedly been working hard on getting stronger, more confident, and well-rounded in his game this off-season and he looked much better at the Las Vegas Summer League. There’s also nowhere really but up to go with how poorly he played last season.
However, when he starts saying that he can win awards, that’s where he needs to slow his role. He could very well develop into a solid role player off of the bench, but he’s not going to be on the level of the Jamal Crawford’s of the league. He has a long, long way to go before he’s there. Rivers is going to be better, but not as improved as he seems to think he’ll be.