12. Austin Rivers 6-5 200lbs Duke Freshmen SG/PG
2011-12 stats: 33.2 mpg, 15.5 ppg, 43% fg, 36% 3ptfg, 66% ft, 3.4 rpg, 2.1 apg
Projection: Late Lottery
Strengths: Austin Rivers came into this past year’s college basketball season full of hype and at times he lived up to it. Rivers was forced to play with the ball in his hands plenty because Duke lacked a true point guard who could play. The bottom line with this kid is, he can flat out score the ball. He’s really comfortable in pick and roll situations, slashing to the basketball and has the ability to get by defenders at will. He’s a fierce competitor, just like his father was when I watched him play growing up as a kid. I thought Rivers was more around the 6’3 range and was surprised when he measured in at 6’5 at the Draft Combine, which tells me he can get away with playing the 2 in the NBA.
Weaknesses: Rivers needs to work on shot selection and his decision making with the ball in his hands. He is a okay shooter, but needs to become more consistent with his shot from 3 point range. He didn’t share the ball much at Duke, but he was often left with the ball late in the clock, forcing him to take bad shots. Defensively, he was flat out atrocious and in my opinion it was more lack of effort and not having a defensive attitude then anything. If he plans on being a starter in the NBA, he needs to defend.
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