Should the Phoenix Suns take a look at signing Austin Rivers?

Austin Rivers in trying to get back into the NBA, but is that a move that should interest the Phoenix Suns?
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

We have passed the midpoint in December, and the Phoenix Suns find themselves sitting a disappointing 14-13 in the Western Conference. Good for the 10th spot - but with the Golden State Warriors having won three straight games - even the play-in tournament does not look guaranteed for the team at this moment.

There is plenty of time to get this right, and zero reason to believe the Suns won't make the playoffs proper. Even with Bradley Beal only being limited to six games so far because of back and ankle injuries, any roster featuring Kevin Durant, who is having an amazing season that the franchise are wasting, and Devin Booker, is going to be alright.

But the championship aspirations that this organization had at the beginning of the season most certainly have been put on ice right now, and they are going to have to get creative in how they make this roster better for the stretch run. Working around the fringes through both trade and the buyout/free agency market between now and the deadline.

Interestingly for the Suns, Austin Rivers recently held open workouts to try and get back into the league, but is that an avenue the team should go down?

According to Chis Haynes of Bleacher Report, Rivers and John Wall both worked out for 10 to 15 teams in Orlando, in a bid to gain some traction and return to the NBA. The merits to adding Wall have been discussed here in the past - and as a former teammate of Beal's - he is probably worth a cursory look. It is Rivers however, that is the more intriguing of the two.

Rivers has been vocal in the past about the fact he had been unlucky with how parts of his NBA career panned out - and in the below conversation with Bill Simmons back in September - he makes a compelling case. Still only 31-years-old, his decade in the league came to a sudden end after playing 52 games (10 starts) with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season.

Given the tear the Timberwolves has been on so far this season, they look completely vindicated in not keeping Rivers around. But he isn't the high school phenom of the early 2010s anymore, and is instead a veteran presence and somebody who is now clearly about winning. Not that Rivers wasn't before, but he has well passed trying to live up to the lofty expectations placed on him before.

Rivers shot 35 percent from deep last season - which given the offensive struggles of the Suns recently would not be a bad option to have - but he would also bring some much needed energy to the backcourt rotation. Rivers was never known as a high-level point guard, but he would represent a different look to the one Jordan Goodwin currently gives this group.

Rivers never did any one thing brilliantly in the league, and that may be why he washed out altogether after suiting up for eight different franchises. It also doesn't help that a winning franchise such as the Denver Nuggets also cut ties with the player, before going on to have major success themselves. That's a lot of chances for Rivers to get, and it may be that he won't be given another.

But holding the workout in the first place and being completely open to any role on any team should give the Suns something to think about. Head coach Frank Vogel recently had the below to say after the dispiriting loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night;

"You have to tailor things to your personnel... not really having some of our guys step up and grab roles, requiring us to look further down the depth chart."

-Ā Head coach Frank Vogel

Vogel hasn't named anybody in particular here, but it would be fair to say that players like Bol Bol and Yuta Watanabe have failed to live up to whatever expectations were placed on them ahead of this season. Even Keita Bates-Diop, who has had a couple of flashes, has not been the underrated defensive player that the franchise had in mind when they added him.

Next. The Suns are wasting an amazing Kevin Durant season. The Suns are wasting an amazing Kevin Durant season. dark

Which should open the door for a veteran like Rivers to put their hands up to be picked. It would involve getting rid of a player to make happen, but he is a player who would slot in next to the superstars, and do whatever it is that is asked of him. Rivers has started 15 playoffs games in the past out of 64 played, and has more experience in those spots than a Bates-Diop or Watanabe.

Perhaps the fit just isn't there, and there is always the aforementioned fact that Rivers never excelled in any one area and is far from a lockdown defender. But this season is beginning to get away from the Suns, and if they want a vocal and eager veteran to help turn the tide - one who would be extremely cheap to boot - then they could do worse than call Austin Rivers.