Duke Basketball: 5 Reasons Austin Rivers Would Be Wise to Stay Another Year

Sam DrakeCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2012

Duke Basketball: 5 Reasons Austin Rivers Would Be Wise to Stay Another Year

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    Being the No. 1 recruit in the country last year according to Rivals.com, Austin Rivers had huge amounts of hype around him.

    Scouts had him as NBA ready, but NBA rules prohibits high school players to immediately enter the draft. He decided to take his talents to Durham, North Carolina and play for Coach Krzyzewski.

    He was going to have to try and fill the shoes of another "diaper dandy" as Dick Vitale calls them in Kyrie Irving. From all accounts, it seemed like he was going to be the most celebrated shooting guard since J.J. Reddick suited up for the Blue Devils.

    However, as the season progressed through December, January and into February, it has become evident that Austin Rivers' game still has some work to be done.

Inconsistant Beyond the Arch

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    Being touted as one of the best shooters in the nation brings the expectation that you can consistently hit shots. That is not totally the case with Rivers.

    While he is shooting a respectable 38 percent from three-point range, which is a good number for a freshmen, he needs to improve that number. People are expecting more from him. J.J. Reddick shot 40 percent as a freshmen and consistently hit clutch shots.

    He can have stretches of a game where he won't make a three pointer and then sometimes only make one. Then, he has the ability to shoot 5-of-9 in a two-game stretch. 

    To be an effective player in the NBA, he is going to have to be able to hit a three more reliably.

He Needs to Develop a Left Hand

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    Rivers has a great move to the basket but once he gets there, he tend to only use his right hand. 

    Once defenders learn that a shooting guard only uses his right hand when attacking the basket, they begin to block more shots. 

    If Rivers wants to have the full set of offensive weapons, then he must put more work into his left-handed layups.

Improvement Needed on the Defensive End

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    Rivers' defense has been passable so far this season. 

    He needs to learn how to guard the perimeter better and learn not to take so many chances.

    There are times that he has gotten burned trying to go for the steal and fast break chance only to miss the ball completely and fly right by the offensive player.

    He stands 6'4'' and needs to use his wingspan better on the defensive end.

Develop More as a Passer

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    Teams know that Rivers can shoot and drive. 

    Once he learn to drive and dish the ball to outside shooters on the perimeter, then he will have all the tools necessary to become elite.

    He has the court vision and the basketball IQ to become a terrific passer but rarely uses it. He can sometimes take ill-advised shots that are off-balanced or in the face of a defender.

    If he learns to pass the ball more consistently, then teams will not key in on him as often and he will be open for more shots.


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    There is a reason that the Olympic committee chose Coach K to be the Olympic coach for the past eight years. He knows how to win.

    Not many people get the privilege of being coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Players can learn a great deal from him on and off the court.

    Even though his father is Doc Rivers and has extensive knowledge about the game, Austin is still young and Coach K knows how to work personally with young men.

    Most people who go to Duke develop a special relationship with Coach K which helps them decide to stay longer. He preaches education to the team and how important teamwork is.

    The one notable exception was Kyrie Irving because what he showed in only 11 games astounded so many people that everyone believed that he could make an impact immediately in the NBA. So far, Irving has proven everyone right.

    Austin Rivers still has a lot to learn about basketball and Coach K is the right teacher.