The backup point guard position is crucial on any team; they relieve the starting point guard of his duties and typically provide an offensive spark for the second unit. Austin Rivers has the prototypical build and speed for a great backup point guard. Rivers averaged 6.2 ppg, 0.4 stlpg, and 2.1 apg for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2012-2013 season and could have averaged higher numbers had he stayed healthy.
There are a few key areas Rivers can work on offensively, but the most important is his field goal percentage. 37 percent for the season isn’t that bad, but what can make the difference for any playoff contending team is the shooting efficiency of the second unit. Everyone knows the starting lineup will make their buckets, but it is up to the bench to provide the stop gap. If Rivers could bring his percentage up, even to 40 percent, he would not only see his ppg and apg numbers rise but also his minutes throughout the game. This is an ideal situation for Rivers because receiving more minutes allows him to boost his confidence, which can be an issue for new NBA players.
With the Pelicans adding All-Star Jrue Holiday to the lineup, Rivers’ minutes might take a hit initially unless he is able to prove that his time on the floor will be a lot more efficient that 37 percent. What makes a guard a legitimate threat is usually a one-two punch kind of combo, whether it is through assists, steals, points, or rebounds. Rivers, being only 21, has plenty of time to develop his game and develop his own dual threat.