Austin Rivers has always had high expectations. Rivers has always been known by being the son of the great coach, Doc Rivers, and being the 10th overall selection by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2012 NBA draft out of Duke. But after a horrible rookie season, expectations are now higher than ever entering his second season in the league. If Rivers doesn’t get the job done this year, questions on whether he is a bust or not will once again start up.
Back at Duke, Rivers was known for his game-winning baskets, flashy moves, athleticism and explosiveness. While many people saw him as a talented player, others saw him as an overrated shot-jacker. In his 2011-12 season at Duke, Rivers averaged 33.2 minutes, 15.5 points, 2.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. He shot 43.3 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from behind the 3-point line and 65.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Last season with the Hornets, Rivers averaged 23.2 minutes and just 6.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. He shot a disappointing 37 percent from the field, 32.6 percent from behind the 3-point line and 55 percent from the free-throw line.
According to New Orleans head coach Monty Williams, Rivers is right where he should be.
“I just think he is right where he should be. We’ve heard about Austin since he was in the seventh or eighth grade and everybody wants him to be LeBron James, but he is right where he should be. He works his tail off. He’s probably one of the most competitive guys in the league. He’s hungry. He does some things you like from a young guy. He works hard. He’s coachable. He’s not afraid. To me, you can’t ask for more than that. He’s going to have ups and downs because he is 20. But he competed and that’s what I wanted.”
“I’m just trying to play, to be honest with you. Last year I felt like I was rushing into things and I was battling injuries. That’s a tough thing to do as a rookie. This year I just stopped thinking. That’s what I’ve been telling everybody else. One year under your belt helps. And it helped me a lot. I just come out here and have fun. This is what I’ve been doing since I was 6 years old. I’m in a great place where I have a coach that really believes in me. I have great weapons around me. So I just have to go out and play and try to make plays.”
(Quotes via nola.com)
Rivers has some nice pieces around him and has the talent, but it seems as though last season he just wasn’t NBA-ready. Hopefully this year will be different.