Rivers feeling defensive about joining Wizards

Austin Rivers says his focus will be on defense when his first season with the Wizards tips off.

With John Wall and Bradley Beal manning the backcourt for the Washington Wizards, scoring is never an issue.

With than in mind, Austin Rivers says he will turn to what he can do defensively as he joins the Wizards, having been acquired in from the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal for enter Marcin Gortat on June 26.

“With how much Brad and John have to do every night, for them to not have to always guard the best guard on the other team, that’s something I can come in here and do,” Rivers said, according to NBC Sports Washington. “Try to bring that competitive spirit and be one of the defenders on the team.”

Rivers, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard, averaged a career-high 1.2 steals last season for the Clippers. However, his defensive rating of 113 was his first since the 2013-14 seasons.

The five-year veteran out of Duke believes the Wizards’ defensive scheme will play to his strengths, though.

“On defense, [the Wizards] can switch one through three or one through four,” he said. “I think that gives us a lot of dangerous options.”

Rivers says his aggressiveness traces back to the early days of his career.

“I had to figure out ways to be effective without [a jumpshot] and that’s how I became a defender,” he said. “I guess everything happens for a reason, right? I’m happy I did have those early career struggles because it made me find a side of me that I didn’t do [early on].”

Rivers then offered a mic-dropper, which brought laughter from everyone present at his introductory press conference after the trade.

“Because I promise you I didn’t play any defense at Duke,” he said.