Duke Basketball: Is Austin Rivers a Poor Man's Kobe Bryant?
Austin Rivers possesses Kobe Bryant’s greatest attribute: cockiness.
The Duke Blue Devil freshman is two inches shorter than the Los Angeles Lakers legend; he doesn’t have his athletic ability either. What Rivers does boast, though, is a world-class work ethic, a killer instinct and a skill-set beyond his years.
Read an excerpt of ESPN’s high school scouting report of Rivers and be prepared for the eerie similarities between him and Kobe.
“Confidence is Rivers calling card as he both wants and demands the ball in pressure situations. He is a cold-blooded assassin that has the full package of offensive weapons at his disposal and plays without fear of failure. He has range out to 28-feet, uses the jab-step as well as seasoned pros, an excellent mid-range game, can finish through contact when attacking the basket and has the best NBA-level floater over the bigs of any player in the high school or college rank…He is fearless attacking any type of defense and has the ability to go on some amazing runs when he gets heated up. His advanced skill level and competitive drive set him apart from his peers as he seems to thrive when most others wilt with the game is on the line.”
Rivers is a poor man’s Kobe.
If Doc’s son wasn’t forced to go to college, he could’ve gone straight to the NBA. Since he was forced, though, he ironically chose Duke, the school Bryant said that he would’ve attended if he chose the college route. Rivers is leading Coach K’s No. 3 ranked team in scoring averaging 15.5 per game. From downtown, he’s shooting an impressive 40.8 percent.
Rivers may not have the highest ceiling in the world because he isn’t a jaw-dropping athlete, but his work ethic guarantees NBA success. And what he lacks in athletic ability, he makes up for with that clutch gene so many professional athletes would die to own. Cockiness is a great trait in any sport when it's paired with work ethic and leadership ability.
Is Austin Rivers a poor man's Kobe Bryant?
The 19-year-old is a sharpshooter spotting up and off the dribble. His handles are at an ankle-breaking level. He already has an incredibly high basketball IQ, but it’ll be Einstein-like after playing a year under Mike Krzyzewski.
As of now, many 2012 NBA Mock Drafts predict that Rivers will go off the board in the middle of the first round. The Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe 13th overall…I’m just saying.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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