Reasons To Be Excited About Training Camp: No. 13 Second-year Leaps
No. 13: Second-year Leaps
It’s commonly accepted in the NBA that players often make their greatest improvement between their first and second years in the league. After going through the trial-by-fire nature of a rookie season, many players return for Year 2 with considerably more confidence, based on the experience and knowledge gained from facing elite competition for 82 games.
With one of the largest contingents of “sophomores” of any NBA team, Pelicans fans will be closely monitoring the progress of Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Brian Roberts and Darius Miller in 2013-14.
During a two-week period this summer in Las Vegas, all four players showed glimpses of potential improvement, capped by Davis impressing everyone at USA Basketball’s minicamp. In the event’s showcase game, which featured America’s best players ages 25-and-under, the 20-year-old poured in 22 points (on 10-for-13 shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds in just 23 minutes.
Meanwhile, Rivers, Roberts and Miller teamed up on the first Pelicans summer league squad. Rivers led New Orleans in scoring at 18.2 points per game and appeared to be more explosive attacking the basket, after being hampered by injuries as a rookie. Roberts averaged 14.2 points while working on his finishing skills in the paint and around the basket. After a quiet start to summer league, Miller broke out in a big way with 23- and 15-point outings in the Pelicans’ final two games. After often blending in offensively as a rookie, the 23-year-old displayed a rarely seen aggressive approach, launching 27 shots in those two contests (unfortunately for Miller, he’ll be sidelined early in 2013-14 due to a stress fracture in his left foot).
If the team’s quartet of second-year NBA players can carry over their offseason work into late October and beyond, it should go a long way toward making the Pelicans one of the league’s most improved teams.