Clippers’ Austin Rivers is seriously growing in confidence


May 8, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) moves the ball against Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the second half in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard Austin Rivers is approaching his fourth year in the NBA, and now that he’s continued to develop alongside his father and so many great influences in L.A., his confidence continues to grow. And for a player like Austin — who has often been doubted due to his inefficiency and the shaky start to his career — confidence is extremely important.

Yesterday, Rivers gave a virtual demonstration of his true competitive nature and self belief with a tweet referring to team USA.

It was a bold statement to say the least, but it’s great to see. Every player needs to think highly of themselves, even if it means they believe they’re the best player in the entire league. Of course there’s a point where confidence can turn into arrogance, though a strong level of confidence is still absolutely necessary.

However, is Austin Rivers better than Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant and LeBron James? No. It’s not even a question.

That’s not the point, though, and it’s not what he meant. As he soon clarified in a following tweet.

For a young a player like Rivers, who is playing the role of backing up the best floor general and arguably the best point guard in the game, Chris Paul, that attitude is exactly what he needs. As Rivers said himself yesterday, actions speak louder than words. And as the Clippers approach the 2015-16 season with a host of new signings, they have a chance to put together their best season in franchise history.

With Rivers having the potential to play a significant role.

It’s not just a few innocent tweets that show how Rivers’ confidence is growing, though. Anyone can type something online and hit tweet.

There’s far more to it than that.

His three point shot may still be inconsistent (30.9 percent this year), his ability to run effective pick-and-rolls can improve and his composure under pressure isn’t exactly perfect either. Yet, during this year’s playoffs, he delivered several crucial performances and proved how both his confidence and potential is growing.

To prevent the Clippers going down 3-1 in the first round against the San Antonio Spurs, Rivers scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in game four. His sudden efficiency and performance under pressure took everyone by surprise, and it made him an unlikely hero in saving the Clippers’ season.

In their strong start to the second round against the Houston Rockets, Rivers scored in double digits in four straight games to help the Clippers take a 3-1 series lead. His best moment came in game three, when he dropped 25 points whilst making 10 of his 13 shots. By looking to shoot and attack the basket against Dwight Howard without hesitation, Rivers seemed to have far more self belief than we’re used to seeing all the time. To make it even better, L.A. won 124-99 and looked like a lock to make the Western Conference Finals.

More from Clipperholics

Then came the Clippers’ total collapse and three straight games of sub-30-percent shooting from Rivers as the Rockets came back to win the series. It was a painful and shocking elimination for fans everywhere. In fact, that’s probably still an understatement. However, now that Doc Rivers has bought in a completely new bench, that same disappointment shouldn’t occur again in 2016.

We’ll have to wait and see how this season pans out, but the Clippers’ improvement over this summer can’t be denied. And as they move forward, hungry to earn the best regular season and playoff run in franchise history, the continued development and confidence of Austin Rivers can be a key part to their success.

Next: 5 key things to look out for in Clippers' 2015-16 season opener