One of the NBA’s most intriguing Western Conference contenders is adding a talented veteran guard. Austin Rivers, who played 21 games with the New York Knicks this year, has officially joined the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets sit at 37-20 after a narrow overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. They’re in fourth place in the Western Conference, 5.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for first place.
Center Nikola Jokic remains one of the most unique players in the NBA, and is a true MVP threat this year. The team also made the big acquisition of Aaron Gordon before the trade deadline, who has helped fill the crucial role that Jerami Grant thrived in during Denver’s impressive playoff run in the bubble last year. Unfortunately, the team suffered a huge blow just days ago, with the injury to Jamal Murray, who will miss the home stretch of the season with a torn ACL.
Rivers isn’t Murray, but he can help solidify the team’s backcourt in his absence. He averaged 7.3 points and two assists in 21 games with the Knicks earlier this year, shooting 43-percent from the field and 36.4-percent from three point range.
The Nuggets today signed Austin Rivers to a 10-day contract: pic.twitter.com/YS0EXc14U9
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 20, 2021
Austin Rivers has been a very useful depth guard throughout his now decade-long NBA career. He spent the last two years with the Houston Rockets, after being traded by the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns and getting waived. He averaged 8.4 points per game over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
His best seasons came with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he turned in his only two seasons with double-digit scoring averages, putting up. a career high 15.1 points per game in 2017-18.
Murray is Denver’s second leading scorer with 21.2 points per game, and averaging the most minutes on the roster. Rivers can’t fill that void on his own, but if he shows out for the Nuggets, they can still be pretty dangerous in the Western Conference playoff race.