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Monday, June 24, 2019

Austin Rivers: I’m ‘better than a lot of those dudes’ on Team USA

Austin Rivers

As he looks to play a key role off the bench for a loaded Los Angeles Clippers team next season, one thing guard Austin Rivers cannot be lacking in is confidence. Well, it certainly looks like he’s all checked out in that respect.

After watching Thursday night’s Team USA scrimmage, Rivers puffed out his chest on social media Friday morning declaring himself to be better than a lot of the players that participated in the Blue vs. White showcase.

After a solid amount of backlash to the tweet, the 23-year-old attempted to clarify his words.

Nevertheless, the point had been made: Austin James Rivers (with his career average of 7.0 points per game) really thinks that he’s more deserving of a roster spot than some of the guys on Team USA Basketball this summer.

While I admire the competitive fire and Most Improved Player ambitions of Doc’s son, he simply has no argument right now. Austin is a sub-40 percent shooter for his career (including less than 33 percent from deep) and the Clippers were actually 13.8 points BETTER per 100 possessions last season when Rivers sat on the bench as opposed to when he was on the court. With all of the deserving names that were left off the roster because of the sheer volume of talent in the NBA right now (here’s one prime example), I’m not even sure Rivers would merit an invite if there were 100 of them to go around instead of 34.

Perhaps Austin may have been referring to the 11th hour fill-ins that were chosen to play in the game like Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo, and C.J. Watson. And just maybe, we might be able to talk ourselves into a legitimate rationalization for the merits of Rivers over end-of-bench ragamuffins like Mason Plumlee and Michael Carter-Williams. Heck, maybe this is all just Rivers venting his frustrations at Plumlee beating him out as the Coach K/Duke nepotism selection.

But for now, the discrepancy between the talent on Team USA…

…and Austin Rivers…

…is fairly considerable.

You’re not quite there yet, Mr. Rivers. Not quite yet.

*Stats courtesy of NBA.com*



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