Austin Rivers: Just the latest to jump early

Austin Rivers will leave college after just one season.

So, Doc Rivers’ kid is going pro.

Austin Rivers made it official a couple of days ago, foregoing his sophomore year at Duke as he plans on entering the upcoming NBA draft.

The question is, why?

Rivers averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as a freshman. Duke — by Duke standards — had a down year. They finished 27-6 (13-3 in the ACC) and as a No. 2 seed were stunned in their first tournament game against 15th-seeded Lehigh.

Rivers is listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, not of much of which looks like muscle. He doesn’t exactly have an NBA-ready body and to say he has an NBA-ready game would be a stretch as well.
He can shoot — but he shoots too much. He needs the ball on offense, and isn’t up to par yet on defense.

Sure, he can probably hold his own in a game of pickup (also known as the 2011-2012 NBA season), but Rivers, as shown by his play at Duke, is still too raw to make any impact for a couple years at least.

He’s slated to be drafted somewhere in the teens — not bad, but not exactly franchise player-worthy either.

Does Rivers and his family need the money? No, clearly. Is he coming off a hot tournament run? No. Did he really have that great of a freshman season? No.

Rivers does have his last name going for him which may help some, seeing as Doc Rivers is a very popular figure around the NBA.

None of us can relate to the decision, and entering the NBA sure is a dream (that will) come true for Rivers. But what’s the rush?

Another NCAA season could prove wonders for Rivers, who is no Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. And is spending another year as the king of your college really such a bad thing?

For the record, the Celtics would be crazy to draft Rivers. A father-son, coach-player relationship in the early stages of Austin’s career can’t be good. Let him become his own player and man first, and go from there.

Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, Rivers was asked if he wanted to play for his dad.
“That’d be interesting,” he said. “It’d be a different situation. I wouldn’t mind, because just playing in the NBA, period, is so exciting to me. Do I think it will happen? Probably not. But you never know.”
By all accounts, Austin is a great kid, and I wish him the best — that’s why he should stay one more year at Duke.

Making the leap

A look at those who triumphed and those who failed after jumping straight to the NBA or leaving
college early:
Those who made it Monta Ellis, Andrew Bynum, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love
Those who didn’t Gerald Green, James Lang, Sebastian Telfair, Greg Oden, Dajuan Wagner, Omar Cook, Jamal Sampson, Jamal Sampson, Darius Miles, Robert Swift, Kwame Brown

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