After a rough first game at Portsmouth, K.C. Rivers rounded into form nicely over his last two contests, posting respectable numbers for the tournament and showing flashes of what hes capable of. Still, it probably wasnt the performance he was hoping for, being one of the more highly touted players coming into the week. On the bright side, Rivers helped himself out by measuring in at 65 in shoes, with an impressive 69 wingspan.
Since the last time we wrote about Rivers prior to this season, there really isnt much new to say, as evidenced by the fact that when you compare his numbers from his junior to senior year: they may as well be carbon copies. Rivers is very much the same player today as he was a year ago, not making major strides in any area of his game.
As a shooter, Rivers is excellent when spotting up, posting an excellent 1.49 points per possession on spot-up shots according to Synergy Sports Technology. When shooting on the move, either coming around screens or pulling up off the dribble, Rivers is still a good shooter, however hes prone to some very wild misses, as his form has a tendency to break down when he has a hand in his face, plus he seems to rush some of his shots in this manner. Peculiarly, despite showing a lot of ability knocking down shots from the field, Rivers has still struggled from the free-throw line, posting a disappointing 67% this season, actually the worst number of his career.
As for his dribble-drive game, Rivers still is lacking in advanced ball-handling skills and explosiveness, not being a huge threat in isolation situations. This was evident at times at Portsmouth, where he was outside the comfort zone of his normal offense, and it took him time to adjust to how he could consistently get open shots. At the basket, Rivers isnt a very good finisher in college due to his lack of vertical explosiveness, and this is something that will be magnified even more at the professional level.
If Rivers improved anywhere this season, it would be on the defensive end, though this was already a strong point for him prior to this season. Fully buying into Clemsons attack style pressure defense, Rivers does an excellent job of playing defense from baseline to baseline, getting his hands into passing lanes to disrupt the opposing offense. As a man-to-man defender, Rivers shows great attentiveness on and off the ball, chasing his man all over the court, while showing a good fundamental base in man defense. While his lateral quickness wouldnt put him in the top half of shooting guards at the NBA level, its still adequate enough to get the job done given his fundamentals and impressive wingspan.
Looking forward to the draft, Rivers should be in second round discussions for most teams, and he will undoubtedly have chances to make a roster even if he isnt drafted. Improving his shooting on the move and becoming a better ball-handler should be among his priorities this off-season. Still, his shooting ability and defensive prowess already could potentially land him a roster spot, especially given his low-mistake style of basketball, strong intangibles, and ability to buy into a team concept.