Austin Rivers is a solid player and could be a solid pro. He has a smooth handle and is very quick off the dribble. His shot is pretty good although his form is awful with that chicken wing hanging out. The thing that surprises me the most about Rivers is his lack of athleticism and finishing ability at the rim. He his a nice runner but always finishes below the rim. I have watched tons of Duke games this year and have not seen him dunk once. I am surprised that such a highly rated and talked about recruit coming out of high school is such a underwhelming athlete. Rivers has the quickness and handle to play the point in the NBA, but rarely if ever creates for others. I can't see him playing the 2 at the next level because his lack of strength and below average explosion at the rim.
He's certainly not an underwhelming athlete. Just because he's not Derrick Rose doesn't mean he's not athletic. Having a great first step, fluid hips, and amazing body control are all great signs of his athleticism. Look at all the long and athletic defenders that have been placed on him that he manages to beat off the dribble. That's what GMs are looking for.
You made a good point about the dunking. i hadn't thought about that. He's a solid leaper, i'd say above average, but a lot of guys at his size don't have that in their game much once they get out of high school. Doesn't mean they're not athletic. Think of Ben Gordon. If you watched him in high school or a layup line he can jump out of the gym, but he rarely dunks the ball in games anymore.
You know who else NEVER dunks anymore? Derrick Rose. But does this mean he's not athletic? No. Amazing body control and fluidity are just as much of way to look at athleticism as anything else and Rivers does display this to a key.
Austin didn't really dunk much in his junior year in highschool either. I think in his senior year he became more comfortable and than started dunking on everybody.
This year, I think he's more afraid of missing the dunk so he goes in for the layup. Only like 5 times on the fast break this year has actually elected to dunk but that was because no one was around him.
He's called for a couple alley oops, but Mason always gets to them before Rivers lol.
I think if he stays next year you'll see him dunk much more, especially in the half court set. I'd just like to remind everyone that Rivers really wasn't much of a dunker in highschool either, so I've never expected him to have D-Wades type of athleticism. He was highly rated because of his skill and quickness not his leaping ability.
However, I agree with you that his finishing ability around the basket frustrates me. He always wants to do this reverse right handed layup on the left side which he ALWAYS gets blocked. But then again you have to factor in that he's a skinny 18 year old and with a summer of intense weight training he could be strong enough to finish in traffic.
Duke fans especially are a bit frustrated by this because just last year we witnessed Kyrie Irving finish so easily off the glass and it was almost a surprise if he missed a shot near the basket. This year, at least to me, it's a surprise if Austin actually makes a tough layup lol.
All good points. He's obviously a good athlete but certainly not on the level of a Wade or Lebon. If he stays another year and gets stronger, he could become a better finisher around the rim, but I doubt he sticks around. I just think he'll really struggle at the next level against athletic 2's.