#10: Austin Rivers
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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With the 10th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft the New Orleans Hornets selected Duke guard Austin Rivers. Rivers joins fellow rookie Anthony Davis, who the Hornets selected with the top overall pick.
“This is an amazing opportunity just to be here and to get drafted to a great organization,” Rivers said. “Coach Monty Williams is a great coach. Anthony’s coming. They have a great city. I’m looking forward to going there and working hard and helping out in the community and doing everything I can to help this organization win.
“It’s amazing. ANthony is a great guy and obviously he’s an unbelievable player. To get there and learn and go through this challenge we have ahead of us is pretty col. We have been friends the past couple of years, so to be ready to take this journey together is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to it.”
Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, won over the Hornets over in a workout prior to the Draft Combine in Chicago with his ball-handling skills and scoring ability. He’s capable of providing help at both guard positions, but could see a lot of time off the ball if the team is unable to re-sign restricted free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon. The Hornets gave Gordon a qualifying offer today to ensure that they have the right to match any offer he receives on the open market.
“It’s whatever coach wants,” Rivers said. “I’m comfortable in those situations. I don’t play to fail, I just play to win. Whether it’s myself or Anthony or Gordon or whoever has the ball, I”m ready to help the team win and I’m just ready to play.”
Rivers has been groomed to play in the NBA since the first day he touched a basketball. He comes into the league with a maturity level and skill set that is well beyond his years. He’s caught some flak for being so confident, but that’s a product of how much work he’s put in and the high level of competition he’s faced throughout his life.
The selection of Rivers caps off the first round of what will undoubtedly turn out to be a franchise-changing draft for the Hornets. Rivers, like Davis, is a winner who will never take plays off and do whatever head coach Monty Williams asks of him. He’s one of the most NBA-ready players in this draft. They’ll be able to give him significant minutes right away rather than waiting for him to develop and adjust to playing at the pro level.