Getting on the practice court for the first time with the Wizards on Thursday gave shooting guard Austin Rivers an opportunity to run with All-Star point guard John Wall.
It didn't take long for Rivers to find a natural comparison to one of his former teammates.
Wall is a star at the point guard position just like Chris Paul, whom Rivers played with for three seasons while the two were with the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul, now with the Rockets, is one of only two players, including Rajon Rondo, who have averaged more assists per game than Wall has since he entered the league in 2010.
Both Wall and Paul are known as gifted passers, but they don't dish assists in the same way, says Rivers.
“John can make the quicker pass because he’s so athletic. He’s so explosive, where Chris takes his time and really probes. Chris is a prober. Chris likes to go around the pick and roll, probe, probe, probe. He likes to make the defense move, then make the pass. So you’ve got to be patient. Where John is like boom-boom! You have to be ready to go," Rivers said.
"John will fire at you 100 miles per hour if you’re not looking. They both play similar and they both are two of the elite passers in the league, but John’s more of a quicker, explosive player where Chris really uses his head to get guys open.”
Rivers said he and Wall have also played pickup games in the past, so the on-court relationship isn't entirely new. But Rivers had missed the first two days of training camp due to neck spasms.
Playing with him on Thursday gave him more perspective on what Wall is capable of.
“You realize how fast [Wall] is, but not until you play with him. He gets the rebound and you can’t be behind him. So when that ball goes up, you’ve got to run. Otherwise you’re behind the ball, you can’t make a play. If you run with him, he will hit you every time. You want to talk about getting points, extra points per game – it’s just running with John. He’s going to attract so much defense, you just got to keep up with him," Rivers said.
Rivers, who landed with the Wizards in a June trade, is set to come off their bench this season, but he may see time on the floor with Wall in three-guard lineups.
The more they play together, the more Rivers will learn about what makes him tick.
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