Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has some very high praise for combo guard Austin Rivers, telling local reporters on Saturday that adding Rivers to the roster was “probably the most important thing we’ve done all year.”
Austin Rivers began the 2018-19 season with the Washington Wizards. Washington traded the former Duke star to the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 17 in the Trevor Ariza deal. The Suns then waived Rivers, making him an unrestricted free agent.
The Rockets quickly signed Austin Rivers because they were in need of guard help. All-Star point guard Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury on Dec. 20 against the Miami Heat and has been out of action ever since.
Houston signed Rivers on Dec. 24 and he’s been a tremendous asset to the squad.
Mike D'Antoni on adding Austin Rivers: "It's probably the most important thing we've done all year."
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) January 26, 2019
In 16 games with the Rockets, Austin Rivers is averaging 11.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Houston is 11-5 since signing Rivers.
Paul is expected to return next week, which means Rivers will go back to coming off the bench. The depth which Houston has in the backcourt now is superb. They have Paul, James Harden, Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers. Not bad at all.
The Rockets are 28-20 on the season, good for fifth place in the Western Conference standings.