Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Austin Rivers’ NBA career hasn’t gone quite as he, dad/coach Doc, or most basketball fans expected it to go. He was the #1 ranked player by Rivals.com when in high school and was a McDonald’s All-American. Then at Duke, he was the ACC Rookie of the Year and hit one of the most memorable shots in the UNC-Duke rivalry. However, since joining the NBA Rivers has bounced from the Pelicans to the Celtics to the Clippers and has arguably been one of the worst players in the league over the last three seasons.
However, his suspect NBA career hasn’t diminished Rivers’ confidence as evident by tweets he sent out after watching the Team USA Basketball intersquad scrimmage. Rivers apparently wasn’t impressed with the quality of the rosters, which can be viewed here, and voiced his displeasure:
Austin’s NBA talent may be a 2 but his swagger is definitely a 10. After a quick glance of the USA rosters, it appears that the guards who you would have to consider the worst players are Michael Carter-Williams and Elfrid Payton. Like Rivers, they are both young players who have room to improve. But unlike Rivers, both MCW and Payton are already good young players with room to improve. Austin may be out of the NBA if it wasn’t for his father/coach/GM Doc.
But Austin is right about one thing; he can win the Most Improved Player award. With his current standing within the league, there’s no place to go but up.