The Playmaker: Austin Rivers
The Orlando Magic absolutely needs more playmakers. If they are going to be moving away from D.J. Augustin, their second unit will lack a player who can create off the dribble and get into the paint.
Orlando certainly could use the draft to fix this problem. With all the point guards available in this draft — like Kira Lewis, Tyrese Maxey and Theo Maledon, for instance — they certainly could turn to a young player to feed the Magic’s second unit and play behind and alongside Markelle Fultz.
The Magic will have both D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams to handle in free agency. They likely could keep one — or both, honestly, with how uncertain this year’s free-agent market will be — but they will have to find a point guard somewhere.
An intriguing name that some Magic fans have already bandied about is bringing home Winter Park High School-alum Austin Rivers.
Rivers has still been something of an enigma throughout his career. Last year for the Houston Rockets, he averaged 8.8 points per game on a 51.7-percent effective field goal percentage. He shot 35.6-percent from beyond the arc, just the third time in his career he has shot better than 35-percent from beyond the arc. His 36.1-percent shooting on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers was only slightly better than the league median.
Rivers is merely a name that has a positive connotation to him. He has shown up in some big moments for his teams. For several playoff teams, he has displayed toughness and an ability to step up in big moments and do more than his role while still playing his role for a team.
Rivers’ impact is still largely intangible. He has not been able to put together a seemingly full season that would make completely good on his talent — or the name he has traded on.
Rivers may not be an absolutely great shooter or a great distributor. But he can still mix things up effectively for teams.
Rivers is good at getting to the rim, but not necessarily finishing at the rim. And he is not good at kicking out. When he gets himself going toward the basket, he is going to try to score. That is probably the mentality that has held him back and relegated him to this “enigma” status.
At this point, interest in Rivers is more about the name and perception around him rather than his actual production. But there is still plenty he can do and intangibles he brings to a team.