Austin Rivers—just take the money, man.
Despite recent reports that said Rivers was leaving Duke for the NBA, his family is saying that he has yet to make a decision. I’m not totally sure I believe that, but if it is the truth, I’ve got a number that may make his choice a little easier: 2,563,320.
That’s how many dollars Brandon Knight is earning this season. Knight, like Rivers, left college after one year. Also like Rivers, he faced questions about his true position, but was widely regarded as a top 10 pick. He was eventually selected eighth overall last year.
Right now, Rivers’ draft stock is at similar level. He’s definitely a top 20 pick, and one high-level scout told ESPN’s Chad Ford that he’s the fifth or sixth best prospect in the draft.
After averaging 15.4 points per game his freshman year, Rivers’ stock isn’t going to get any higher. And while staying at Duke would help him grow as a player, the last thing he needs to do is give NBA general managers more time to think.
He’s not an efficient scorer (43 percent on field goals, 36 percent on three pointers), he doesn’t have elite athleticism and he’s undersized for his position. He could definitely improve his shooting next year, but two of those weaknesses aren’t changing.
Rivers simply can’t give GMs another year to wonder if he’s worth a high first-round pick. Undersized, inefficient gunners aren’t usually held in high regard, especially when their game doesn’t match up to their swagger.
As of today, Rivers is a lottery pick. He just needs to cash in his ticket before teams second-guess that notion.
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