[Austin Rivers "7" Drill" video via Adam McGinnis]
“I think I’m the best player in the draft, as far as being prepared for the league. That’s just me being a competitor,” uttered Kansas forward Thomas Robinson to the media after his workout for the Wizards last Wednesday. He later said his statements were not a personal affront to Anthony Davis or any other player, but that he felt like his experience and numbers at Kansas were worthy of that number one spot.
Duke guard Austin Rivers did not make such a grandiose statement after his workout for the Wizards on Friday, because his charisma said enough. He asked the media how they were doing before his interview, he looked every question asker in the eye, he cracked jokes about his younger brother (Spencer) and older brother (Jeremiah, former Georgetown Hoya), he smiled every now and then, and he spoke about the importance of thinking — even if it’s not true — that he’s the best, too.
Rivers, Terence Ross (University of Washington) and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic) worked out together for about an hour in front of Wizards coaches and personnel. Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was scheduled to be included in this same workout, but the Wizards announced at the last minute he would workout alone at an earlier time. The media was allowed to see two drills with the three players: A full court running drill, which required them to hit a shot from the elbow, before running back down court, and the “7 Drill,” which former Wizards coach Flip Saunders once eloquently described as a mental test of heart.
Rivers was less than impressive in his shooting drills. During the full court drill, his shot looked similarly tough to watch as John Wall’s, at times. Instead of stopping, jumping, and then shooting in one fluid motion, Rivers had a bit of a hitch in his release. And when his shot did not go in on one side of the floor, he attempted to jump a little and change the release point on the next, but it ended up looking mechanical and uncomfortable — just like a Ledell Eackles jump shot. Rivers appeared to be trying to guide the ball in the basket, and on a couple of occasions, he took four and five steps before releasing the ball–much more than the three steps the NBA allows a select few to take.