Houston Rockets: Austin Rivers plugs several holes across the team

Austin Rivers now of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Austin Rivers now of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have had a troublesome start to the season and have had a lot of holes exposed. Austin Rivers helps plugs those holes, let’s take a look.

The Houston Rockets season has been very rocky and their biggest weaknesses have been their bench scoring and wing defense. With limited options, they went out and signed Austin Rivers earlier this week to help fill these holes.

The Rockets have currently won the 4 of their last 5 games and their better play has been a result of good defense and James Harden looking like an MVP candidate once again. Over the last 5 games, Harden has averaged 37.6 points per game and has fueled this Rockets offense.

And with the recent jump in defensive effort, the Rockets have been able to do just enough to win these games. Clint Capela and P.J. Tucker, as well as the return of defensive guru Mike Bzdelik, have powered this defensive resurgence.

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However, the Rockets bench has continued to be one of the worst benches in the NBA. The Carmelo Anthony addition flopped and he was supposed to be the biggest addition to the depth so yet another hole was created. A lot of the other pieces on the bench haven’t stepped up either.

With the Houston Rockets currently being cautious with Brandon Knight, they just do not have anybody on the bench that can create shots for themselves or anyone else. So plug in Rivers and what do you have? A spark plug the inconsistent Rockets have needed all year.

The biggest reason Rivers is a great addition is because of his defense. Rivers is a really good defender and is very persistent on defense. He played a very similar role for the Clippers a couple of seasons ago that Patrick Beverley played for the Clippers and Rockets, stay on the ball and be pesky about it. This will create tips, steals, blocks and fast break opportunities for this team. His effort alone will be huge becaushe defensive effort is contagious.

Rivers also brings playmaking abilities and the ability to create shots for himself. With Harden playing so well, he has also played a lot of minutes. Which means initially, Rivers will slightly reduce Hardens minutes and when CP3 returns he will hopefully reduce it even more.

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During practice yesterday, Harden said “He can shoot the ball well. He can make plays and handle it. Obviously, with the guys that are out, with him being basically free it was a no-brainer. He is going to have more than enough opportunities.” This means Rivers will get his opportunity to make plays, he just has to make them.

Last year, Rivers shot a very respectable 37.8% from three pointer. With Rivers willingness to shoot and his obvious familiarity of playing behind Chris Paul, this should be a very effective move for the Rockets.

I am still surprised the Rockets signed him based on Rivers history with Paul. Well, Rivers answered questions on his relationship stating “I have no problems with Chris as you guys will see.”

Let’s just hope for the Rockets sake that their beef was really just fake news and is over and done with. At the end of the day, this addition plugs a lot of holes for this Houston Rockets team that will still have holes to plug.

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The Houston Rockets are above .500 for the time being at 17-15 and are in eighth-place in the Western Conference. Here’s to hoping Rivers can help power a bench that can let the Rockets continue to rise up the standings.