Timberwolves Draft Prospect: Austin Rivers

Chad Ford’s Mock Draft 6.0 on ESPN (Insider required) has Doc Rivers’ son Austin Rivers from Duke going to the Timberwolves at #18, so let’s take a look.

The thing that stands out most is his creativity and ability to get the hoop, which you have to love for the Timberwolves at shooting guard. compares him to Doc Rivers, which, I guess, duh, but also to O.J. Mayo, a player I wouldn’t mind see suiting up for the Wolves next season. In terms of measurements, the long and short of it is that he’s long (6’7” wingspan) and short (6’4”) for a shooting guard. It’s encouraging to hear from Draft Express that he was “the only player on Duke’s roster dynamic enough to consistently distort defenses with his dribble penetration and generate his own shot in a pinch,” since dribble penetration and shot creating are two things the Wolves have sorely lacked at the 2 for a long time. Neither Ridnour, Johnson, Webster nor Ellington have been able to do either of those things, so he could add an interesting dimension to pair with Rubio/Love and Rubio/Pek pick and rolls in the half-court.

I don’t like his questionable decision-making on drives (echoes of J.J. Barea there), but if he’s not the primary ballhandler, I don’t have as much of a problem with it. I also have no problem with a guy who has the mental fortitude to take big shots like this:

It’s one of the things that was great and awful about Michael Beasley’s first year with the Wolves. He certainly had the willingness to be the go-to guy down the stretch, but his haphazard play in the game leading up to the point often meant the Wolves weren’t in a position to win a close game that season.

His defense appears to be average at best, plus being undersized for his position means he may have a hard time with other SGs at the NBA level, but keep in mind the Wolves are a team that played the 6’2” Ridnour at that position for much of the year.

The whole father-was-an-NBA-player seems like a red herring as well, but hopefully Austin Rivers is more Stephen Curry than Luke Walton.

Steve McPherson

1 comment
  1. Rivers was completely ordinary at Duke. STAY. AWAY. Most overrated prospect in the draft (which is saying a lot in a draft with Barnes and Jones boys).

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