Over the next week we will be taking a look at various and realistic draft possibilities for the Chicago Bulls.
NAME: Austin Rivers
POS: Shooting Guard
HIGHLIGHTS: Ranked #3 best High School player by ESPN, 2011 Prep Player of the Year,
PROS: Rivers has been touted for having skills that are far beyond his age. His ball handling skills are advanced for a 19 year old and he’s blown past opponents with his shooting ability as well. And as aforementioned, he’s just 19 years old and has an NBA pedigree with his father Doc being a very wise and successful head coach. His upside is insane.
CONS: While his ball handling skills have impressed scouts, some still wonder if he’ll be nothing more than just a very solid bench player. Rivers defensive ability is also casting doubt over how good of a pro he’ll be. He’s an attractive prospect but when you think about Rivers defending guys like Monta Ellis, Dwyane Wade, James Harden and Kobe Bryant no one is picking Rivers which is a key issue with him.
IS HE A FIT IN CHICAGO: If Rivers comes to Chicago there will be the immediate Thibodeau-Doc Rivers connection drawn and it’s not that unattractive of a marriage. Thibodeau learned a lot under Doc River in Boston and to have him then pass that on through himself to Doc’s son while employing his style of defense is an awesome hybrid in theory. But River’s defensive ability on the surface doesn’t fit what Chicago is all about. They want a No. 2 scorer to compliment Derrick Rose but Thibodeau is not going to do that by sacrificing defense. However with that being said Rivers can learn just the way Rose and company learned Thibodeau’s style.
BOTTOM LINE: Austin Rivers is obviously going to get a lot of attention if just for who his father is. But the pressure is on to outplay the hype and it’s his mission to succeed. He has the skills and it’s even more appetizing that he’s just 19 years old and has crazy upside because of that. But just because he has upside doesn’t mean that he will become anything. Right now drafting Rivers means you’re going to get a solid reserve guard and the question is how valuable is his upside to teams in the lottery?