Recap: Austin Rivers had an up-and-down year during his first full season in Rockets red. Rivers played in 68 regular season contests, starting in four, but was effective often as the first guard to come off the bench. Rivers averaged 8.8 points per game while shooting 35.6% from the three-point line.
The biggest highlight of Rivers’ season came while in the Orlando bubble, when he scored a career-high 41 points off the bench on 14-20 shooting. It’s the best Rivers has looked with the Rockets and is certainly his finest moment from the 2020 season.
2021 Outlook: Before the season, Rivers signed a two-year, veteran minimum contract with a players’ option for 2020-21. This came as a surprise considering Rivers likely could have gotten more money elsewhere. It was clear that Rivers took a discount to stay with the Rockets, but the question is do those feelings remain the same?
Since Rivers signed his contract, the Rockets traded for Russell Westbrook and Mike D’Antoni walked away. This is definitely a very different team today than the one Rivers opted to sign with for two years.
Rivers turned 28 last month and will likely be offered more money than the Rockets’ vet minimum deal on the open market. However, Rivers has talked about the prospects of wanting to settle down and not having to change teams often like he did early in his career. He’s already played for four organizations in his eight NBA seasons. However, if a team like his hometown Orlando Magic offered him a raise to return home and play in Central Florida, you would have to assume Rivers at least considers the offer.
The Rockets are getting a huge bargain with Rivers. To have a guy like him on the contract he is on is a steal and if the Rockets can convince him to stay, that would be tremendous. He’s going to be valuable no matter what because of his price and the fact that he’s also a great fit next to James Harden.
It’s clear that he was playing good basketball in the bubble, but I think the decrease in minutes pushed by Mike D’Antoni shook his confidence, which is why his minutes in the Lakers series were subpar. We can’t use that performance as a benchmark for Rivers in itself. He deserves to be on this team playing meaningful minutes in 2020-21.
Should the Rockets re-sign Austin Rivers?
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