It's fair to say that Austin Rivers' career hasn't panned out the way most people thought when he was a star in college.
Rivers is a streaky shooter and has his fair share of ups and downs throughout his career, but he's still a valuable veteran that could help a contending team off the bench.
Austin is proving just that with the Denver Nuggets, even sliding into their starting lineup due to their injuries, and showcasing a skillset the New York Knicks are really lacking right now.
That's why lifelong Knicks fan and ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith questioned their decision of letting him go earlier in the season before the Nuggets picked him up:
“Austin Rivers a really good guy, a good player who shouldn’t have been sitting at home unemployed waiting for his phone to ring before he had to accept a 10-day contract," Smith started.
”I think about how Austin Rivers could have been in New York this year that’s what I was thinking about last night…. When I watched Austin Rivers drill those threes I said, ‘he’s supposed to be with us. He’s supposed to be with us here in Atlanta right now getting ready to reclaim home advantage," Smith concluded.
The Knicks couldn't make a shot in the third game of the first-round series vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Outside of Derrick Rose, the rest of the team combined for just nine made field goals.
That's where Austin Rivers could've come in handy. He's savvy, has playoff experience, and has no conscious. He'll continue to shoot even if he's ice-cold, and sometimes that's the kind of player you need to get out of a slump.
Rivers is by no means a superstar, nor he'll ever be. But maybe, just maybe, he was just what the Knicks needed, especially now with Elfrid Payton out of the rotation.