“He’s gotten better, I think defensively he’s gotten much better,’’ Rivers said yesterday following practice at The Sports Authority Training Center. “He’s still young and the veterans take advantage of that youth but athletically he’s an NBA defender, there’s no doubt about that. Mentally, he still needs to grow. He has made, in my opinion, tremendous strides.’’ Rivers emphasized that Giddens would be difficult to guard one-on-one, but he struggles with the five-on-five game, especially decision-making. That is what perhaps keeps Giddens from more playing time.
Despite being a fan of JR Giddens, I must concede the point here. JR does seem to be an island unto himself out there, on both ends of the floor. He possesses talent, if you focus on his efforts. But unlike the first nine, he doesn't blend into the team concept. He doesn't seem to flow with what everyone else is doing. The addition of Sheed and Squisy to the second unit has really given the second unit a "team" feeling. Once the third and fourth stringers are introduced (Lester, Shelden, JR etc), the team concept breaks down and play becomes ragged. The level of play goes from NBA elite to NBADL.