The Houston Rockets got a mid-season addition of the most unlikely former rival, and he’s been an incredible one. Can he continue to help out the team when CP3 returns?
The Houston Rockets, despite the loss on Saturday night, have been rolling as they move forward in the standings. Injuries have been an issue, but help from other places on the team has allowed Houston to stay hot. They also have that guy James Harden, that helps too.
One player signed before Christmas to help the team was former rival of the team Austin Rivers. He’s been long disliked by the fan base, most recently because of the tunnel incident last season, but was signed despite that.
Good move, Morey.
Rivers has been a great signing, providing a much-needed scoring and defensive punch off the bench to start his tenure and most recently, with the injury to Eric Gordon, in the starting lineup. The hard feelings are gone, especially between him and Chris Paul. Now, he’s here to stay for the season on a cheap contract playing some of the best basketball of his career.
The offense of Austin Rivers isn’t his greatest strength, but he’s still been a perfect role player on that end of the court. He’s averaging 13.5 points per game, which would be his second-best ever.
His efficiency has been great, too. Rivers has bought into the Rockets 3s and layups system and has done so with ease. He is shooting 41.5% from downtown, a career high. It’s only been six games, of course, but it looks like his shot will be a weapon throughout the rest of the season. He cracked 20 points last time out with 21, finishing with five made 3s.
Austin Rivers also has been awesome on the defensive end. His on-ball defense has been crucial without Chris Paul in the lineup and has helped keep the Rockets a decent defensive team during his tenure.
In his first game, he primarily guarded Russell Westbrook and helped hold him to an overall 6/20 shooting night. He’s also had to guard many top point guards in his first six games in Houston, performing well against pretty much all of them defensively.
When CP3 returns…
When Chris Paul returns, the Rockets will have a formidable four-guard rotation. They’ll have a healthy CP3, MVP-candidate James Harden, a hopefully healthy Eric Gordon and a two-way role player in Austin Rivers.
With the way Rivers is playing and how Gordon is improving, that is arguably the best guard rotation in the league. They can beat you in almost any way, let’s hope that’s the case when everyone is back healthy.