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Austin Rivers: Why Duke Guard Will Never Live Up to the Hype

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
Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 28, 2012

Duke's Austin Rivers is one of the more intriguing prospects heading into Thursday night's NBA draft. He was one of the highest recruited players heading into college last season and he has a pedigree, being the son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

There's been nothing but hype that has surrounded Rivers for more than a year now, and in the NBA he won't come close to living up to it. His game just has way too many flaws.

Despite being only the third freshman ever to lead Duke in scoring (15.5 points per game), Rivers is a player without a real position.

He's not a point guard.

Rivers doesn't take good care of the ball and is not a good decision-maker. He averaged 2.3 turnovers per game and only 2.1 assists. He's also a guy that doesn't use his teammates very well, either, and often appears selfish when the ball gets in his hands.

I'm not calling him selfish, but rather it's his style of play, as often holding onto the ball and relying on isolation isn't going to work for him in the NBA.

He doesn't have a post game and he's not a Carmelo Anthony type of scorer to get away with playing isolation a lot.

So that makes Rivers a 2-guard, right?

Not exactly.

He doesn't have a consistent enough jumper, only shooting 36.5 percent from behind the college three-point line, and while his overall field-goal percentage wasn't terrible at 43.3 percent, I doubt Rivers will have that much success getting to the rim in the NBA.

The problem is, though, that Rivers doesn't play well without the ball and there's really nothing else he does well besides score.

He's not a good rebounding guard (3.4 rebounds per game), doesn't pass the ball well, isn't a good defensive guard and shoots under 70 percent from the free-throw line (.658).

For all the hype Rivers gets, he's a guy that really doesn't do much to make you notice him as a player.

In addition, he's average size for the 2-guard spot at 6'5"—he isn't very long, which will hurt him defensively and really isn't a great athlete.

If Rivers plays the same game he did at Duke, there's nothing there that will wow you in the NBA. He will score his share of points but won't do anything else that will make him worthy of being a lottery pick, which is where he will be drafted.

If there's one guy guaranteed to be drafted in the lottery that will never live up to the hype, hands down, it's Rivers.

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