Rivers Could Be the Second Superstar From the 2012 Class

The Biggest Potential Steal of the Draft

6/28/12 in NBA   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

March 9, 2012; Atlanta, GA USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Austin Rivers (0) shoots against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half of the quarter-finals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIREIt’s seems to be pretty much the consensus at this point that this year’s draft contains one potential superstar and then a deep group of solid to very solid starters.  Anthony Davis has all the tools to become an elite NBA star, but if there’s anyone else in this group of players that has the potential to be a perennial all-star as well, my money’s on Duke’s Austin Rivers:
 
And with no further ado, FanIQ Productions presents:
 
THE CASE FOR AUSTIN RIVERS
 
1. THE DUEL-THREAT
 
Rivers is such a difficult matchup because he’s got an incredibly quick first step and he can shoot the lights out from outside.  It’s a pretty rare package, and what makes it even more enticing is the fact that Rivers is tall enough to fit into the shooting guard position perfectly at around 6’5”.  Amongst other shooting guards who have gone in the lottery in the past five years or so, Rivers reminds me the most of Eric Gordon and Stephon Curry.  He doesn’t have the same explosiveness at the rim as Gordon or as consistently reliable a shot as Curry, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him averaging 20 points per game in just a couple years like both Gordon and Curry were able to do early in their careers.

2. MISTAKEN IDENTITY
 
Blog Photo - Rivers Could Be the Second Superstar From the 2012 ClassThe Duke Basketball program has bred a collection of elite NBA players from Elton Brand to Kyrie Irving, but while Brand and Irving were able to convince NBA scouts they were the consensus number one overall picks, Rivers is predicted to go anywhere between about fifth and fifteenth overall. 
 

The reason?  Rivers was a bit out of sync with his Duke teammates on some occasions and despite having an extremely talented team, the Blue Devils were ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  Irving’s team didn’t have much more success and he played only a couple games in Duke blue, but reliable point guards are such a commodity and Irving is such a special talent that he was able to secure his spot as the #1 pick during the pre-draft workouts.
 
Coach K’s program relies greatly on ball movement and unselfishness and while I wouldn’t want to call Rivers a selfish player, he definitely needs the ball in his hands for a solid bulk of the game to maximize his effectiveness.  In my mind, it’s sort of similar to the way Kobe needs to get his 20 shots a night in order for his team to have the most success.  Rivers sort of struggled to assert himself at Duke, but I think on the right team, if he gets the green light, he could be a dynamic scorer, maybe in the Allen Iverson mold.
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