Physical condition, skill level and basketball knowledge are all crucial things that make NBA players who they are. Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s the mentality they have – this confidence in which they believe they are the very best in the world (whether it’s true or not) – that can take them to the highest level.
Sometimes you hear certain players talk about themselves and can’t help but believe that some are completely delusional. Still, you’d rather deal with someone who is overly confident in their abilities than someone who lacks confidence.
That said, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Austin Rivers had something very interesting to say about what he saw during USA Basketball Showcase on Thursday:
Straight up better than a lot of those dudes playing last night….. Have to prove that this year. M.o.a.M MIP…..why not
— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) August 14, 2015
It’s quite possible that Rivers’ eyes lit up when he saw C.J. Watson on the roster. Kidding aside, it’s tough to see where Rivers is coming from as far as saying he’s better than many on the roster, given that he hasn’t shown a whole lot during his first three years in the league (bare in mind, he’s not comparing himself to superstars like Stephen Curry and James Harden, who weren’t a part of the showcase).
To be fair, he was never quite enabled by Monty Williams – the only coach he has ever played for before being traded to the Clippers last year by his father Doc Rivers. Under his father, Rivers shot a career-high 42.7 percent from the field and had some shockingly good performances in the playoffs that actually made you wonder if you’ve had it all wrong about the guy.
Objectively, Rivers probably isn’t better than most on the roster from Thursday as of right now. Still, if that’s what he wants to believe, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, particularly if it drives him to want to become better (that clearly is the case if he wants to become MIP).
Again, confidence is a huge factor in a player’s development especially when you’re talking about a player as young as Rivers (22), so his mentality is an asset more than a liability no matter how true or false we think his statement may be.
Jim Park is a blogger and editor of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.