JJ Redick has been in the news over the last few hours over comments he made during his podcast. Redick recently mentioned that Kevin Love, the current Cavaliers' power forward, is better than 99% of the power forwards on the recent NBA 75 list that came out.
These comments surprised a lot of fans. While Love was a great player during his prime, the years since his championship win in 2016 have seen his level of play go down significantly. And right now, he has become a massive problem for the Cavaliers and their plans for the future.
But Redick was unapologetic in his comments, and even threw a little more salt on the wounds. In the same podcast episode where he made the comments about Kevin Love, Redick went on to knock older players for saying that they would dominate in the modern NBA, and players of this generation couldn't survive in their era.
To illustrate his point, he brought up Austin Rivers saying that he would have been a Hall Of Famer if he played in the same era as Celtics legend Bob Cousy. Redick agreed with Rivers' comments, saying he wasn't wrong.
Redick also acknowledged that he knows the game is consistently evolving. And in 20 years' time, basketball will be played in a much different way as compared to now. So he does not want to be knocking the future generation like he feels legends of the past have.
"I've tried to provide some middle ground where I acknowledge their greatness in their era. But one of my favorite things a player has said is when Austin Rivers said if he played against Bob Cousy he would be a hall of fame... (because) he is not wrong."
"Here is my issue with the old-timers when they shit on us saying we couldn't play in their era... I would say this and I don't think this is a hot take... Most nba players in today's era could play in any era in the NBA... Most NBA players from the 50s, 60s, early 70s could not play in today's NBA. I think that's reality. Of course, you have Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain... The top ten or so players from that era but the talent from 1 to 450 is through the roof."
"I don't want to be that guy in 10 or 20 years from now who is shitting on players in 2044... I recognize the game always evolves. I watch these highlight tapes of kids that are like 12 and their handles are Kyrie's handles and they are hitting step-back threes and I'm like the game in 10-20 years will look completely different, the skillsets will look completely different... And guess what... They will be better than we were... That's just reality. That's how the game works... It evolves... It gets better."
Redick agreeing with Rivers' comparison of himself and Cousy is a little bit of a stretch. To illustrate, Cousy averaged 18.4 points per game in his career, and Rivers is currently averaging 9 points per game in his career, a little under half of Cousy.
It is a little unfair to judge, given that Rivers has almost never played the number of minutes that Cousy did. But even in the season Rivers played 33 minutes, he averaged 15 points. Whereas Cousy, the season he averaged close to 33 minutes, he was 32 years old and averaged 18 points per game.
Rivers in his prime wasn't able to match what Bob Cousy did during his career. Redick has some strong points about older players underestimating the new generation. But there is almost no noteworthy comparison to be made between Bob Cousy and Austin Rivers.