The New Orleans Pelicans announced on Wednesday that they’ll be exercising the third-year option on former Duke Blue Devil, Austin Rivers.
Rivers, the 10th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, stumbled through a disastrous rookie season that had people crying for his demotion to the D-League all throughout. His 5.95 PER was good enough for 343rd out of 344 eligible players in the NBA, with Orlando’s Doron Lamb being the only player to post a lower number (4.85). In addition to this, he was worth -1.1 Win Shares and shot just 37.2% from the field.
While his disappointing pit stop at Duke and brutal first season in the NBA have done plenty of lowering to expectations, Rivers’ potential is still undeniable. He is an elite athlete with ab0ve-average basketball IQ and can slash as well as almost anyone. If he manages to develop just one more part of his game, be it a mid-range jumper or the ability to finish drives, he could immediately transform into am adequate role player for New Orleans.
At this point, I’m sure the Pelicans aren’t expecting Rivers to be the guy we thought he was coming out of Winter Park High School, but they are certainly hoping to develop an offensive weapon and possible sixth-man out of him.
For the sake of all of basketball fans everywhere, let’s hope he improves soon, because watching Jrue Holliday, Anthony Davis and a developed Austin Rivers run around together would probably be endless fun.