Why Austin Rivers Isn't Worth a Top-15 Pick in NBA Draft

Ryan GerbosiCorrespondent IIJune 25, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Austin Rivers #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a shot in the second half while taking on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Austin Rivers has become the darling of draft boards everywhere leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Duke product has seen his stock rise over the past few weeks and is now the 10th-best prospect according to ESPN's Chad Ford.

The guard has an impressive resume to show NBA teams interested in adding him.

In one season at Duke, Rivers was the team leader in scoring average with 15.5 points per game. He proved himself to be a clutch performer with a three-pointer against rival North Carolina to win a key regular season matchup.

Rivers is an impressive talent and will be a good player in the NBA, but he is not valuable enough to be worth a top-15 pick.

Rivers is an excellent scorer, but his skills as a true point guard are lacking. Rivers only averaged 2.1 assists per game for the Blue Devils in 2011-12. 

He hasn't displayed the passing skills or decision making at the college level to have an impact at the point guard position in the NBA. 

Because he won't be able to make much of a difference as the head of the offense, Rivers will most likely be a shooting guard as a professional.

But as as shooting guard, Rivers will be at a height disadvantage. Rivers is listed at only 6'4", which is on the smaller side for an NBA shooting guard.

While he won't be the only 6'4" shooting guard in the league, he will mostly playing against guys with two or three inches on him.

Because he doesn't yet have a clear place in the NBA, it is hard to justify a top-15 pick on  Rivers.

However, once Rivers finds his place in the league, he will be a dangerous scoring threat to keep an eye on.