Austin Rivers sees no issues fitting into Houston Rockets’ 3s and layups offense
Austin Rivers’ timely pre-Christmas signing will have him locked for playing time right away in light of Chris Paul’s recent Grade 2 hamstring strain, which figures to sideline him for “a while.” The 26-year-old guard doesn’t think the adjustment period will be long, fitting right into the Houston Rockets’ offensively philosophy of “threes and layups.”
“That’s all I want to do in terms of offensively,” Rivers said, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I shot two mid-range jump shots this season. My old teammates in D.C. would give me crap about that. It’s not that I refuse; I just don’t shoot them. That was the first thing they told me. ‘We want to shoot 3s and layups.’ You’ll get no arguments out of me.”
Unlike a perennial mid-range shooter like Carmelo Anthony, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni won’t need any arm-twisting for Rivers, who has naturally adapted to the NBA’s new norm of efficiency — prioritizing long-range shots and easy looks at the rim, along with drawing fouls.
Rivers is only a career 64.4 free-throw shooter and figures much better as a deep threat (35.2 percent during career), despite his struggles this season, as he is shooting only 39.2 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent from deep and a 54.3 percent clip from the foul line; a career-low.
Houston is hoping the flow of the offense helps Rivers find his rhythm and can be a helpful cog in the midst of Paul’s absence. James Harden endorsed Rivers’ signing, claiming he will have “more than enough opportunities” to prove his worth.