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Austin Rivers may spend more time at small forward this year

Austin Rivers

After a 2015-16 season that represented progress for Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, the former Duke standout is prepared to become more versatile to remain in his father’s rotation.

During preseason, Rivers has started at small forward for the Clippers. Following the team’s latest game against the Toronto Raptors, Rivers explained why he is a suitable fit at the position, as per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:

“It’s not like the 90s where they had all these heavy-set wings where guards couldn’t really guard them,” Rivers said. “Now, everybody’s face-up. Everybody’s running up and down, shooting threes. Threes (small forwards) are like Chandler Parsons, Andre Iguodala – slashers. I can guard those types of wings because they’re not heavy-set post-up players.”

When asked about using Austin at small forward, his father, head coach Doc Rivers, explained that speed is the main way in which the 24-year-old can present an advantage:

“A lot of guys are out at the 3-point line,” said Doc. “A lot of them have the advantage off the dribble. Even the bigger threes who are athletic and can handle the ball, their advantage is a three guarding them. They have a dribble advantage, too, and quickness. But when you put a smaller guy, you take the dribble advantage away and then you turn them into post players, which is still just two points. So, there’s some benefit to it. You can’t do it every night, obviously. It’s nice to make it very hard to do.”

Doc’s words suggest that the usage of Austin Rivers at small forward will depend on the matchup and that the lineup is subject to change. It remains to be seen just how regularly Rivers will feature in the position, but his willingness to add adaptability to his game is a good sign for Clippers fans.

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