Washington Wizards: Austin Rivers has been a disappointment to start the season

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

Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers has been unexceptional to start the season. Rivers needs to take it up a notch in order not to be considered a failed experiment.

It’s not a popular opinion, but let’s admit it, Austin Rivers hasn’t lived up to the hype for the Washington Wizards. Yes, it’s only been a couple games, but the trend we are witnessing is very concerning.

Pumped, jacked, excited, whatever you want to call it, displayed my emotions when the Wizards acquired the point guard from the Los Angeles Clippers. There, he showed so much talent, promise, and potential.

Now one question surfaces: Did the team make the correct call in obtaining Rivers?

Even though his father, Doc Rivers, force-fed him the ball, he still showed a great skill-set. He was ruthless and aggressive when the rock was in his hands. His teammates and coaches could rely on him to get a bucket when needed, but what happened?

This season, Rivers has averaged 8.3 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.8 assists in about 25.8 minutes per game. I get it, he received more minutes and opportunities in Los Angeles, but he still should be scoring in double figures with the time he’s currently being given.

Rivers doesn’t seem comfortable when he’s on the floor, especially when John Wall and Bradley Beal are out there with him. He’s used to being a ball-dominant point guard and hasn’t figured out how to play off the ball.

In addition, Rivers must be more aggressive when he’s got the basketball in his hands. Right now, Rivers is settling for contested jump shots. Call for a pick, go to the rack, just do something else besides take an ill-advised shot attempt.

The time to be in attack mode is when Wall and Beal are out on the floor with him. When the three of them are out there together it causes so much spacing for everyone to take advantage of. This could be a lethal triple-threat if Rivers could just live up to his potential.

I hoped that Rivers would be a contender for the sixth man of the year, but it’s not trending in that direction. Look at the the better 6th man candidates around the league; Jamal Crawford, Eric Gordon, and  J.J. Redick, they enter the came and just let it rip. Their job is to go out and produce and be instant offense for their teams, which is exactly how Rivers needs to be performing.

Currently, he’s being out played by Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jeff Green. I could even say that Tomas Satoransky would be more productive at this point if given more minutes, but I won’t go there just yet. It feels like we’ve traveled back in time to his days playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, where he was an irrelevant player.

Despite the great play that Oubre and Green have showcased, Rivers is the individual that can take the Wizards to the next level. Offensive firepower off the bench has always been a weak point for Washington in past years.

Wizards’fans have seen what he can do. Now it’s time to actually put that into play. If he continues failing to meet expectations then I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington’s leadership team decides to trade him before the trade deadline.

A bit drastic at this point? Maybe, but am I wrong?

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Bottom line, Rivers needs to stop being a timid basketball player. He needs to be more aggressive and realize that the second unit is his team to operate. And when he’s on the floor an any time, the team isn’t looking for him to give up the ball, but be a ruthless savage, scoring ever opportunity he gets.