Washington Wizards: 5 players under pressure in 2018-19

Washington Wizards (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards Austin Rivers (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

5. Austin Rivers

Acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers, Austin Rivers provides the Wizards with much needed back-court depth. The Clippers blew up most of their roster last season, but Rivers was a big reason that they stayed afloat in a tough Western Conference.

The Clippers finished 42-40, 10th in the West. Not bad when you look at their roster. Rivers averaged 15.1 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.4 rebounds. It’s clear that Rivers is a scoring point-guard. He doesn’t have a pass first mentality.

Normally, this might be an issue, but with the Wizards it won’t be a concern. The bench has been the kryptonite for Washington in the past, but that looks to be different this year. Rivers is a big part of the reason, which leaves a heavy burden on his shoulders.

Rivers hasn’t been performing that well in the preseason. He’s only averaged about 5.2 points and 3.2 assists per game. These numbers are worrisome since the Wizards signed him to be instant offense off the bench.

After watching him in all the preseason games, Rivers lacks aggression. He hasn’t shown the scorers mentality that he had last season. The regular season is just few days away and he needs to make these adjustments fast.

Washington has put a lot of faith in Rivers to be the offensive stud off the bench that can give John Wall and Bradley Beal more rest throughout the game. If he can’t consistently score in double-digits on a nightly basis, then the Wizards will be in trouble.