I don't mean to tease Austin Rivers here. Okay fine, maybe I am having a LITTLE fun at his expense, but it's all out of love because I truly respect what he did last night. Not only did he sustain an NHL playoffs-esque injury in the NBA playoffs, but he came back and contributed a hell of a performance in helping a battered Clippers team compete to the bitterest of bitter ends to their season. He could have very easily packed it in, but he actually came back out on the floor looking like a goddamn cyclops possessed.
That's why I have to question whether he really needs that second eye to be successful. Anyone that knows anything about Austin Rivers knows that his career to this point has primarily been plagued by an irrational amount of overconfidence. As a friend of a friend once put it, "he plays like he is the best player in an AAU tournament". Honestly never heard a more accurate interpretation of an athlete's game in my entire life. Austin Rivers biggest problem isn't that he doesn't have the talent to be productive in the NBA, it's that he doesn't have the talent to be the best player in the NBA. By all prior indications that's exactly the prototype by which he has tried to model his game and it has resulted in relative failure.
That, however, wasn't the case last night. I know it's a small sample size, but one-eyed Austin Rivers can finish at the hoop. One eyed Austin Rivers takes what the defense gives him. One eyed Austin Rivers takes smart, in rhythm jump shots. One eyed Austin Rivers makes tear drops. One eyed Austin Rivers finds the open man. One eyed Austin Rivers facilitates on the offensive end without letting his effort slip on the defensive end. To put it simply, one eyed Austin Rivers is a hell of backup point guard. Two eyed Austin Rivers forces up off balance shots, takes flat footed threes, has as much touch inside as DeAndre Jordan at the foul line, and probably hasn't accumulated 8 collective assists since January. In my estimation they are just drastically different players.
I am not saying that Austin Rivers has to look like he just walked off the set of 'Creed' to be at his best, but it might not be the worst idea to keep an eyepatch on the Clippers bench just in case he starts to play a bit over his pay grade. Impossible to be cocky when you only have half your vision, and taking the 'over' out of Austin's overconfidence appears to be what transformed him into a capable floor general last night.