I enjoyed an article written by Jeff Caplan for NBA.com on the journey and growth thus far for Austin Rivers. You can read the entire article here.
In the first paragraph, I think it is interesting that even on the elite level of the NBA, playing hard is still a very part of success. Talent alone is never enough -- especially when you are competing against the best:
“The mindset in the locker room right now is if we play hard we can win,” Rivers said. “You look at teams right now like the Phoenix Suns, they don’t have superstar players, but they play hard, they play hard the whole game and they trust their system and they play the same way every night. And because of that they’re one of the better teams in the league, which no one could have called at the beginning of the year, and that’s because guys stepped up, and that’s what we need to do. We have more than enough talent and skill to do that.”
Caplan than gets Rivers to talk about the journey and how it hasn't been easy and there have been plenty of lessons along the way. All young players can take note -- you just don't step out on the floor and excel -- there are lessons to be learned...must usually through experience.
“Everybody has different paths and that’s something that took me a while to figure that out,” Rivers said. “At first [not playing] was just frustrating … [but] that doesn’t do anything because at the end of the day I’m here, and I’m glad I’m here because I think this is all going to make me better in the long run. I like where I’m at with my teammates and my coaches and I think four or five years down the road from now I’ll be able to look back and be like, ‘I remember that time when guys were asking me how did you feel about this and that,’ and now I’m here.
“I know this is all a process, and I know if I continue to work like I know I do and to listen to the coaches and older guys I’ll be fine. But it’s funny how it works like this — one minute I’m like, ‘Man…,’ and now I’m playing a lot.”
I got a believe that if Austin truly understands that it is a process and that he does indeed trust the process (and all that goes with it -- especially coaching), then he is going to be an good pro player.