On Friday, sources said there was a good possibility Austin Rivers was leaving for the NBA. By Monday, he’d made it official. He’s going the
Kyrie Irving route — the second standout Duke freshman in two years to leave coach Mike Krzyzewski’s program after just a season. Come November, he’ll be in the pros with his dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers won ACC freshman of the year in a landslide and earned all-ACC honors — the first freshman in the conference to do so since Tyler Hansbrough in
2006. He also knocked down arguably the most memorable shot in college basketball this season — a jaw-dropping, buzzer-beating three to beat rival North Carolina in February — proving he has more than pedigree on his side when it comes to transitioning to the pro game.
The skeptic in me would like to see Rivers learn to become a better distributor before heading to the next level — to say he was a ball-stopper in his season at Duke
would be like saying Schmidt from New Girl is “kind of a douchebag.” But really, Rivers was never going to be a prototypical NBA point guard anyway.
Here are three reasons he’s ready to play in the pros:
1. His confidence — Have you seen this guy play? Have you read any of his quotes? Have you been on his Twitter page? Rivers doesn’t just think a lot of himself. He’s in love with himself. Like I Love You, Man, Superbad-level bromance love. The kind of love where I’m surprised he hasn’t coined a Brangelina-esque nickname for every time he looks in the mirror. AuRiver. Hello, self. Damn we’re looking good today.
Confidence can be a good or a bad thing in the NBA (Kobe Bryant on one end of the spectrum, somebody like Nick Young on the other), but you can’t be a great player without it. And Rivers has more confidence than a Formula One driver on peyote. Age-wise, he’s a pup. But he won’t be afraid to mix it up with the big dogs at the next level.