Winner: Austin Rivers
One of the strengths to this Minnesota Timberwolves roster is the amount of capable ball-handlers they have. Obviously D’Angelo Russell primarily runs the show as the Wolves’ floor general, but Minnesota’s track record of success with Jordan McLaughlin running point is well-documented as well, and several other Timberwolves have the ability to bring the ball up when needed.
One of those players is Austin Rivers. Signed from the Denver Nuggets last summer, Rivers was probably more of an afterthought to many Timberwolves fans when he joined the club on a one-year deal. But while he has not produced on a level that would wow a more casual viewer, his impact has been anything but miniscule.
Rivers’ numbers have been nothing gaudy — 5.4 points and 1.5 assists is certainly not much to write home about. And although he has shot the ball efficiently, that has been far from his most significant impact on this team.
The biggest thing Austin Rivers has brought to the Timberwolves is veteran leadership. In a season where talks of the void left behind by Patrick Beverley have been frequent, Rivers has done as good a job as possible in setting an example for his young teammates and doing what he can to keep team morale high.
Whether it be encouraging his teammates publicly or sharing a message of reassurance with the Timberwolves’ fanbase, Rivers has quickly and decisively made his mark in Minnesota. It may just be worth it to keep him around for the long haul.