Draft preview: Austin Rivers


Seventh in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on Thursday. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

One thing you know about the kid is that he'll be coachable, and Rick Carlisle loves to coach, so this could be a really good pairing for many years to come.

The son of Boston Celtics coach and former NBA point guard Doc Rivers and schooled under -- for one year anyway -- Duke and U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, Austin Rivers is intelligent and talented, although he isn't quite as seasoned as he might be with one more season playing at Cameron Indoor.

Still, how long now has Dallas been searching for that combination of size and playmaking ability at shooting guard? A long, long time.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:


School: Duke (1 year)

Position: SG

Age: 19

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-5/203

2011-12 stats: 15.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 36.5% 3FG

Why he would fit: Shooting guard is a position in total flux at the moment. Jason Terry is likely headed elsewhere as a free agent. Vince Carter could be swept up in potential trades. Are Rodrigue Beaubois and/or Dominique Jones ready for a heavier workload? Rivers addresses needs Dallas has long sought in size and scoring ability at the 2.

Why he wouldn't fit: Seems to be a lock to be taken before the Mavs ever pick.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Extremely confident. ... Good shooter with deep range. ... Sick crossover move, very quick. ... Nice floater. ... Skilled ball-handler. ... Has a killer instinct on the floor. Down -- Good, but not elite, athlete. ... Not an explosive leaper. ... Needs to add a left hand. ... Gambling defender. ... Questionable shot selection. ... Can be selfish.

Coop's comment: Rivers would fit well as an athletic shooting guard who can slash to the basket. The Mavericks haven’t had a player like that since Michael Finley in his prime. He sometimes gets into trouble with over-penetrating and turning it over, but he’s so young that he can be coached out of that. He’s an OK shooter, but again, as he gets stronger, he should get better. He played a lot of point guard at Duke, but he’s a shooting guard in the NBA.

Previous prospects

Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

Fab Melo, Syracuse

Quincy Miller, Baylor

Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State