Thursday, August 18, 2011

My first look at Austin Rivers as a Dukie

Duke is over in China playing some friendlies, kind of like soccer does I guess. This gave me the opportunity to get a look at the new team and its new additions. The main addition is Austin Rivers, the number 2 ranked freshman according to espn. His first game in a Duke uniform wasn't shown on tv. But he had 18 points and 5 assists. That's pretty solid. My first impression of him was ok.

He kind of looks like a tweener. He is a little taller than most point guards. But he seems a little less bulky than a lot of shooting guards. I don't think this will be a big deal for him in college. Nolan Smith did just fine playing both guard positions and he was about the same size, if not a bit shorter. Rivers also has an odd looking jump shot like Nolan did. Its hard to tell from far off, but I don't think its too much of a problem fundamental wise. Most of his shots were on line. He mostly had a problem with range.

The one thing that immediately jumps out about Rivers is his aggressiveness. Doug Gotlieb noted it as well. He isn't afraid to shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor. And he likes to attack the basket. Doug compared him to a cross between Dwayne Wade and Jay Williams. I'm not sure I see much Jay Williams in him. But I do see him as a poor man's Wade. He isn't as bulky as Wade. And he isn't as explosive athletically, which means he doesn't finish as well around the rim. But he likes to drive like he does.

I'm not sure how he will do defensively. But he seems to have decent lateral movement. So I would guess he shouldn't be much of a liability. Overall I think he will be good. He has pretty good skills and the mental makeup to be a good scorer. The key will be how efficiently he gets his points. Kyrie Irving was so good last year because he didn't have to take a ton of shots to score. If we can get that from Rivers we could be a very good team. If not I think we will struggle to score consistently. Though Ryan Kelly's performance today was encouraging. Him and the Plumlees really need to step up all aspects of their game if this team wants to be great.

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