After a Brutal January, New Orleans Hornets Rookie Austin Rivers Has Bounced Back

By Craig Ballard
Derick Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

New Orleans Hornets rookie Austin Rivers got his career off to a decent start, but his January was a nightmare. Luckily for Monty Williams the former Duke Blue Devils star seems to be back on track.

November and December were decent for Rivers, but things were ugly to start 2013 as he was a horrid 3 for 18 from downtown in January. His overall shooting percentage for that month was a putrid .284 as his game had taken a step backwards. Williams has a long history with Rivers so he is the perfect coach to get to him and help the young player develop, in fact February has seen marked improvements.

In particular his shot selection has really improved as he was pretty much exclusively chucking 3-balls or driving to the rim so closing out on him around the perimeter plus drawing charges in the paint became too easy as there was no threat of him pulling up for a mid-range jumper.  His February field goal percentage is up to .435 which is significantly higher than any other month so far for the son of NBA legend Doc Rivers.

Oddly Rivers has always been a below-average free-throw shooter, and in the pro’s he has started with a brutal .545 free-throw percentage so that area of his game requires massive improvements. His shooting form is odd so I am concerned that his fundamentals require a lot of work/improvements.

Rivers is going to get a chance to prove he can be a legit contributor on the NBA level as he was a lottery pick. This season he is competing with guys like Eric Gordon, Greivis Vasquez, Brian Roberts, Roger Mason Jr. and Xavier Henry for playing time. At seasons end Mason Jr. and Henry are free-agents so Rivers has the rest of the year to prove that he can be counted on if you give him more minutes which would allow the Hornets to spend money elsewhere.

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Craig Ballard is a NFL/NBA/MLB writer for Follow  him on Twitter @craigballard77, and you can find all of his articles HERE

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