Despite starting the year coming off the bench, Austin Rivers has proved he is ready for whatever role is required of him.
Let’s face it. A lot of NBA fans don’t like Austin Rivers. Not that they’re right, but many claim nepotism is the only reason he’s in the league. They’re wrong. Last night, during the Clippers’ win over the Mavericks, ESPN’s announcers shared the sentiment. Austin is a solid role player and would fit with almost every team in the NBA.
Rivers started the year coming off the bench, after Doc Rivers decided that starting newly acquired Milos Teodosic made more sense. Teodosic’s offensive abilities complement Patrick Beverley’s defensive abilities in the first unit. Austin and Lou Williams were supposed to provide a spark off the bench. Through the first two games, Austin didn’t look right. He scored a total of 7 points in the two games and didn’t do a lot else. It could have been due to lingering effects from his preseason injury, but his game just wasn’t there. However, things quickly changed as Milos went down with a plantar fascia injury. Austin was thrust into the starting role.
Once he was labeled as a Clippers’ starter, Austin’s game opened up. Minus the game against the Golden State Warriors, where the whole team was abysmal, Austin has been very impactful as a starter. Just look at his game log as a starter:
(Courtesy of Basketball Reference)
He’s scored double digits in every game he’s started, except for the aforementioned Warriors game. Austin is the real deal. He has proved already during this young season that he can be an impact player and fans need to take notice. It’s not nepotism. It’s skill.