Austin RiversHt/Wt: 6-4 / 195 lbs
2012 Draft Profile - Austin RiversAustin Rivers has advantages that no other prospect match with his upbringing as the son of a former NBA player and championship coach, but Austin does not get by on just his name. He is a talented prospect in his own right plays with great desire and a natural competitiveness and confidence. At 6ft4 200lbs he is a long, smooth athlete. Arriving at Duke, Austin was the high school player of the year who prided himself with a complete arsenal as a scoring guard, watching tape of his high school days is quite impressive as he is very advanced in his ability to take over and he oozes with confidence. Even in all star games his ability stood out which has led to high expectations. Going down the final stretch of conference play Rivers may be Duke’s most consistent scorer and easily the best freshman in the conference. Probably his greatest strength is his ability to score especially from the outside. Austin has really developed as a marksman, he has deep range out past the NBA 3 point line, he can spot up shoot really well and is getting better at coming off screens and what is really rare is his ability take the ball from the triple threat position, give a jab step and raise up to hit the 3 with the defender playing him close. It is a move that is very difficult to develop and defend against, what helps make this move affective is Austin also has a quick first step to get around a defender who is guarding him close and is a smooth athlete adept at gliding his way to the hole to finish. Austin has several tricks in his bag, he can also hit pull up jumpers but is better at using a hesitation move or head fake to get by his man and shoots a nice touch floater over his right shoulder. Austin has a very advanced feel for the game, he struggled a bit early on with consistency which is understandable coming from hs ball where he was a one man show to a disciplined Duke program and he is now doing a good job at getting his points in the flow of the game and not taking bad shots. Austin is also a good passer, and ball handler who rarely loses control, and even though he has developed into a true sg, he could still give you minutes at the point. What I can also see in Austin is he wants the ball at the end of games, he shows a lot of confidence and no fear.
As Rivers continues to develop he is looking more like a close to strictly perimeter player. He is not finishing with dunks like he was in hs, and even though he has the ability to get to the paint, his left hand is still not developed so teams are making him go left which is not very strong or efficient. He needs to add some upper body strength to play long NBA minutes, and hopefully this will not hurt his shooting touch. Austin has showed some flashes of nice defensive play but if he doesn’t get more consistent this could be a liability for him. Austin is also an emotional player, he has always had great individual and team success, he hit a rough patch early in conference play but responded well and it looks like it made him a better player which is promising. For how good he is shooting from the outside his FT% is very average this season at 68%. Austin is not contributing much in hustle play or grabbing rebounds, it is almost like he saves his energy for offense which is not unusual for superstars coming out of high school but it is hustle play that will help earn him minutes in the NBA if he makes the jump after his freshman season.
Austin may be below the expectations that some put on him, but not by much. He is proving to be one of the best outside shooters in the country, and he will have big stage opportunities the remainder of the season that could elevate his draft stock from where it sits currently in the middle of the 1st round. I still think his ceiling is high for how young and talented he is and can be a top 5 pick next year if not this year. As he develops I see a lot of similarities with Reggie Miller. Rivers has a ton of confidence, he is a deadly shooter and crafty scorer who is not afraid of carrying his team. Intensity, and a confident demeanor is part of his make up. I think with his background growing up and coming from Duke will pay dividends when he transitions to the next level.
Player profile submitted by: Tom Patterson
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