``I've been trying to get better mostly,'' Rivers said by telephone earlier this week. `` I think this is the best that I've ever felt as far as my career goes. I've never been this athletic, never been this strong,never been able to shoot the ball like this.
``It's the hardest that I worked in a long time. Things went well just before I got hurt and it kind of made me have a chip on my shoulder.''`` My injury gave me a chance to work on my left hand,'' Rivers said.
``I'm kind of happy that it's been a blessing in disguise. I'm not trying to go out there and take it to a level where I am out there exhausting myself.
``I want to go out there and work as hard as I can and work on all my things. I want to develop my skills in the game and that will give me reps going into next year. We still got a lot of trade possibilities with our team, so you never know. I'm not focusing on that. I want to go out there and play and I believe I can.''
Jim Eichenhofer has a quick rundown on some of the more familiar faces on the Pelicans' squad.
NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is often known as a place for unknown and unproven players to show what they can do on the hardwood. Relatively speaking, though, the first-ever New Orleans Pelicans summer squad is an experienced group, with a handful of names that should be recognizable to hoops fans.
A total of five players who donned a New Orleans uniform in 2012-13 will participate, along with a three-year NBA veteran with 150 regular season appearances already under his belt. Add it all up and the summer Pelicans have a combined 484 games and 10 seasons of NBA experience.