Clippers’ Austin Rivers working to improve his mid-range game


May 8, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) controls the ball against the Houston Rockets 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

Austin Rivers proved a lot in the playoffs last season, and more than anything he showed that he’s developing a new sense of confidence that allowed him to carry the Los Angeles Clippers’ offense at times. Admittedly, it was only in short bursts, but it was still something we’ve rarely seen from Rivers. Regardless of his consistency he’s started to improve, which means that with even more talent around him to learn from, Rivers can continue to develop his game even further in 2015-16.

As for one area of his skill-set that needs some work, Rivers’ mid-range game could be far more consistent. Last season with the Clippers he did record a career high field goal percentage of 42.7, but primarily raised that percentage by making another career high of 63.4 percent of his shots within three feet of the basket.

However, as the Clippers’ league best offense looks ready to explode with far more depth and versatility, Rivers is working to improve his shooting from inside the arc.

Rowan Kavner of has shared the work that Rivers has been putting in with a former Clippers star point guard Sam Cassell, who now works with the team as an assistant coach.

Rivers made it perfectly clear that he was ready to address his areas of weakness this summer:

"“I’m talking about non-stop,” Rivers said. “Instead of working on everything, we worked on the things I wasn’t good at or the things that could take me to the next level, and that was the mid-range jump shot.”"

Cassell also commented on how he’s being working with Rivers, and mentioned that it was Doc Rivers’ plan since acquiring his son that Cassell could help him learn:

"“To his credit, he (Austin Rivers) gave me all he got this whole summer,” Cassell said. “That’s just one of my guys. Doc (Rivers) asked me before we made the trade for Austin, like, ‘You can work with him, right?’ I was like, ‘My pleasure.’ One thing he needed is something I mastered when I played, a 15-foot jump shot with confidence.”"

In comparison to Cassell’s ability from mid-range, Rivers has been far less successful and far less consistent through his career. He entered the league by shooting 38.9 percent from 10-16 feet out, but last year that number reached just 28.6. From further than 16 feet out, Rivers still wasn’t too accurate as he only made 35.1 percent of his shots.

More from Clipperholics

It could go a long way in increasing his offensive output if he can acquire a solid mid-range game, as not only can he create more for himself, but when pick-and-rolls fail he has the option to step back and bury a jumper instead.

“People will be surprised with Austin Rivers,” Cassell said. Even if we’re in an incredibly early stage of the season, it’s always encouraging for the Clippers to hear their players are progressing.

Obviously his mid-range jumper is only one area that Austin Rivers needs to improve in, but it could be one of the most valuable assets of his game if he can perfect it.

Next: Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan's passing has improved