NBA Draft 2012: Predictions for Austin Rivers' Rookie Season
Austin Rivers’ freshman year at Duke wasn’t as spectacular as many people thought it was going to be.
It will be interesting to see how he performs as an NBA rookie next season.
Will he have a major impact or will he end up being a non-factor?
Rivers, the son of current Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, is projected to be a first-round pick in next month’s NBA draft.
He could go as high as eighth overall to the Toronto Raptors and shouldn’t slip past the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 18.
Look for Rivers to be drafted by a lottery team before being immediately dealt to the Celtics.
Here are five predictions for Rivers’ rookie season in the Association.
He will hit at least one game-winner
You can label Rivers turnover-prone and a not-so-elite defender. However, you can’t say he isn’t a clutch performer.
During his “one-and-done “ season at Duke, Rivers knocked down a memorable game-winning buzzer-beater on the road against arch-rival North Carolina.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Don’t be surprised to see him come up with a game-winner at some point in his rookie year as well.
He will have at least two 30-point games
Rivers never reached the 30-point mark once during his short college basketball career. That doesn’t mean he won’t as an NBA rookie.
The talented shooting guard will prove he’s a gifted scorer in the pros by producing at least two 30-point games: one against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats and the other against the New York Knicks at the famous Madison Square Garden.
He will participate in the slam dunk contest
Rivers was a participant in the 2011 McDonald’s All-American dunk contest, losing to future Oklahoma State star Le’Bryan Nash.
Rivers will take part in the 2013 NBA dunk contest and lose to the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George.
He will be selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team
Rivers will turn in a solid rookie campaign, averaging 12.4 points (fourth best among rookies), 2.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.
For his efforts, he will earn a spot on the All-Rookie First Team, joining fellow first-year phenoms Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, Thomas Robinson and Bradley Beal.
He will help the post Big Three Era Celtics reach the postseason
Boston’s future Hall of Fame trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will probably be broken up this offseason.
With that said, the Celtics are going to need a young, future star like Rivers to come in and help out in the scoring department.
Look for Rivers to team with Rajon Rondo and possibly Paul Pierce (if he’s still in Boston) to lead the C’s back to the playoffs.
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