Austin Rivers looking to develop in the NBA like Spurs’ Tony Parker


NEW YORK CITY – The 2012 NBA Draft is tomorrow and all eyes will be focused on the new wave of NBA talent to hit the hardwood next season. Top college players such as Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Meyers Leonard will have their name called tomorrow night in New Jersey, as their NBA journey will take its first steps.

One player who is projected to be selected early in the first round of the draft will be Duke’s Austin Rivers. Rivers, the son of Celtic’s head coach Doc Rivers, is a flashy, high-scoring guard who can provide an offensive punch for whichever team selects him tomorrow night much like San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker.

And it is Parker’s style of play which River’s models his game after.

Recently, Rivers mentioned Parker as a player he envisions himself as in the NBA. But what exactly about Parker does Rivers like?

When asked at today’s 2012 NBA Draft media session in Times Square, Rivers pointed to Parker’s progression from a pure scoring point guard to now an all-around guard.

“Tony Parker is just a beast. I think he’s made that transition of being a shooting guard, or just a scoring guard into being a point guard and that’s something I am. I’m a scoring guard but I can attack and make plays for others and I think that’s what he did at the beginning,” Rivers said. 

Heading into the draft, many view Rivers as just a one-dimensional player as just a scorer, which he does well, but obviously he will need to diversify his game to succeed at the next level. So he looks to Parker’s ability to get teammates involved and knowing when to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

“He just scored most of the time and now he’s doing a little bit of both. Knowing when to score and when to get other guys involved first and get them going, then you can get yourself going because you know you can get yourself going at anytime. Just little things like that, he knows how to do now,” said Rivers.

“The way he changes speed and the way he can finish at the rim at his height is pretty amazing so that’s why I like watching him.”

And much like Parker, Rivers is heading into the NBA at a very young age when many felt he needed to stay at Duke for at least one more season. But Rivers is confident he is ready for the NBA and like he said at today’s media session, he wouldn’t have entered the draft if he felt he wasn’t ready.

As a guard heading into the NBA, looking to emulate Parker’s game is a smart thing to do for Rivers or any guard in tomorrow’s draft. Parker is considered one of the best guards in the league with an outstanding NBA resume to match. 

As Rivers continued about Parker’s style of play, he also tossed in his thoughts on Parker’s MVP performance this past season.

“He deserved to be at the top for the MVP race. Obviously, LeBron (James) was by far the MVP but other than him, Tony Parker should have been in that conversation, which he was,” Rivers said. “It’s crazy, he’s gotten older and I think this was his best year yet other than that (2007) NBA Finals MVP year he had. So it’s amazing”

With the Spurs having only having pick No. 59 in the second round of the draft, there will be no chance Rivers’ name will be on the draft board, however, it will be a sight to see just how much of Parker’s game Rivers adopts when the Spurs face him next season. Who knows if Rivers will launch the “tear drop” shot while driving in the lane to the rim on Parker.