Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers
27-Year-Old GuardG
Houston Rockets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Rivers was traded to Houston from Washington last season and played 47 games for the Rockets. Between the two teams, he averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per contest. He upped those numbers to 11.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 15 starts. Rivers is occasionally good for a big scoring effort, but his production in other categories leaves much to be desired. He's a streaky shooter and not a particularly adept defender, limiting his overall fantasy value to deep leagues. He becomes even less valuable when considering the ultra-talented backcourt options available to the Rockets in James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon. Barring injury to those ahead of him on the depth chart, Rivers isn't worth a look in standard leagues. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year contract with the Rockets in July of 2019. Contract includes player option for 2020-21.
Small impact in loss
GHouston Rockets
November 4, 2019
Rivers posted three points (1-3 FG, 1-3 3PT), four rebounds and three assists in Sunday's 129-100 loss to the Heat.
In the first six games of the season, Rivers has converted on 43.3 percent of his field goals and 33.3 percent of his 3-point shot, both very similar to his career averages (41.7 field goal percentage and 34.7 3-point percentage). Although the 27-year-old serves as the Rockets' backup point guard, Houston is already loaded with guards Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Eric Gordon. As a result, Rivers is playing the lowest amount of minutes per game (17.3) in his career, and it doesn't appear likely to change any time soon.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Rivers struggled to stay healthy for portions of the 2017-18 season, most notably due to an Achilles injury that kept him out for 18 straight contests. However, when Rivers was on the court, he easily put together his most impressive effort since being drafted 10th overall in 2012. Rivers set career-highs in points (15.1), rebounds (2.4), assists (4.0), steals (1.2), three-pointers made (2.2) and minutes (33.7). Adding on to that, his efficiency didn't take much of a hit and Rivers still knocked down 42.4 percent of his field goal attempts and 37.8 percent of his three-pointers despite the added workload. A career 64.9 percent free-throw shooter, Rivers didn't show much improvement there with a 64.2 percent clip, but his advances elsewhere in his game made him a fairly attractive Fantasy option for much of the year. That said, the Clippers drafted a pair of guards in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft and that created a logjam in the backcourt, resulting in Rivers being dealt to Washington this offseason. While the 26-year-old will join a playoff team, his path to playing time becomes much more difficult. The Wizards have All-Stars John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, so Rivers will have to return to a reserve role. That means his playing time is set to decrease fairly significantly, which in turn hurts his overall value. Look for Rivers to provide a scoring specialist off the bench, but his drop in minutes may take him off the radar for most standard leagues.
Rivers garnered a career-high 27.8 minutes per game last season, resulting in him setting career highs in nearly every statistical category. However, it was really a tale of two roles for him during the 2016-17 campaign – that of a reserve and that of a starter. When the Clippers were healthy, he took a reserve role to the likes of Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, posting 9.4 points and 2.1 assists across 23.4 minutes per game with a 51.8 true shooting percentage. But, as the Clippers dealt with a myriad of backcourt injuries, Rivers ended up drawing 29 starts, boosting his production up to 16.1 points and 3.8 assists across 34.5 minutes per game with a 57.2 true shooting percentage. Now, however, Chris Paul and J.J Redick are out of the picture and have been replaced by Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Milos Teodosic – a much weaker backcourt. As a result, Rivers could hover near the 27.8 minutes per game he saw last season, but would see it on a consistent game-to-game basis rather than it being an average of two separate roles. If that’s ultimately the case, Rivers’ Fantasy value should see a slight bump heading into the 2017-18 campaign.
While many consider the former lottery pick to be a disappointment after his first three NBA seasons, Rivers seems to have found a home as Chris Paul's backup in Los Angeles. After being traded last season from New Orleans to Boston and finally ending up in Los Angeles, the young point guard settled comfortably into a bench role under the guidance of his father and coach Doc Rivers. Rivers, who played in 76 games last season, rounded out the year by playing the final 41 games with the Clippers. During his stretch in LA, Rivers averaged 7.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.6 steals while shooting 43 percent in 19 minutes per game. Rivers brings little to the table in terms of fantasy value, as he posted just 3.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per 36 minutes last season, and he should continue to see limited minutes as long as Paul remains healthy. On top of his issues with low playing time and poor adjusted statistics, Rivers has struggled mightily with efficiency over the last three years, shooting just 40 percent from the field and 62 percent from the free-throw line on his career. Beyond that, Rivers could see fewer minutes following the signing of veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni, who should add depth to an already crowded Los Angeles backcourt.
Rivers enters his third season in the NBA with a "bust" tag thanks to the former lottery picks' lackluster first two professional seasons, but the negativity surrounding Rivers may be a bit overstated. Last season, Doc Rivers' son averaged 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.7 steals in 19 minutes per game for the Pelicans. Rivers was also able to greatly improve his three-point shooting, hitting 36 three-pointers, and raising his accuracy nearly four full percentage points to 36 percent between his rookie and sophomore years. Free-throw shooting remains an issue for the combo guard, however, as he connected on just 64 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe. This may be the season that Rivers can finally make his mark on the league. Thanks to the departure of Brian Roberts to the Charlotte Hornets, there's an opening behind Jrue Holiday in the Pelicans rotation. Rookie Russ Smith and former Naismith College Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette will both make claims to that rotation spot, but Rivers holds the upper hand due to his familiarity with coach Monty Williams' playbook, not to mention his personal relationship with his head coach. Rivers isn't the best defender, but he has the ability to be the scorer off the bench that Williams lost when Roberts moved on.
Rivers had a rough season in 2012-13, averaging just 6.2 points with a PER* of 5.95. The combo guard missed the end of the season with a broken hand, but was a healthy participant for the Pelicans' summer league team. Rivers has reportedly improved this summer, but he will have stiff competition for backup guard minutes with Roberts, Morrow and Evans.
As the 10th overall pick, Rivers has known Monty Williams since he was a toddler and is primed to succeed in New Orleans. Rivers epitomizes a “combo guard.” At 6’4, 200lbs, he stands undersized to be a true shooting guard, but his score-first attitude goes against being a true point guard. While a starting point guard at Duke, Rivers averaged 15.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg but only accrued 2.1 apg. What Rivers has going for him is that he has only one point guard ahead of him on the roster.. Rivers will be a key contributor this year, though it remains to be seen where he will be used more. One thing that is for sure is that he will be able to score.
More Fantasy News
Cleared of injury
GHouston Rockets
October 21, 2019
Rivers (neck) doesn't appear on the Rockets' injury report ahead of Thursday's season opener against the Bucks, Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic reports.
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Ruled out with neck injury
GHouston Rockets
October 18, 2019
Rivers has been ruled out of Friday's game against the Heat due to neck soreness, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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Exits with shoulder injury
GHouston Rockets
October 18, 2019
Rivers went to the locker room with a shoulder injury during Friday's preseason game against the Heat, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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Returning to Rockets
GHouston Rockets
July 1, 2019
Rivers and the Rockets agreed to terms Monday on a two-year contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
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Strong defensive effort in Game 3 win
GHouston Rockets
May 5, 2019
Rivers totaled just eight points, four rebounds, and one steal in 28 minutes during Saturday's 126-121 victory over Golden State.
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