Austin Rivers on playing for Rockets: ‘It’s the happiest I’ve been in my career’

Austin Rivers has enjoyed his time with the Rockets.

The 26-year-old guard began the season with the struggling Wizards but was traded to the Suns in mid-December. Rivers was then bought out by Phoenix and signed with Houston.

“It’s the happiest I’ve been in my career,” Rivers told The Undefeated in a recent interview. “This is the same way I felt in LA (where he played for the Clippers from 2014-18). That freedom, responsibility, everything’s there. I can’t complain one bit.”

The Rockets have been without guard Chris Paul, who has been sidelined since Dec. 22 with a hamstring injury. Rivers has been a major contributor in Paul’s absence, averaging 12.1 points and 3.3 assists in 38.4 minutes per game.

“I know Chris is out, so more minutes are there now,” Rivers said. “But even when Chris is back, I know what I can do on this team. We’re all here to do our part. (Rockets star) James (Harden) does his biggest part, and we support him and what he does. It’s a great situation. I’m very, very, very happy right now.”

Rivers said this season has been his “craziest one yet” but joining the Rockets was a “no-brainer.”

“Offensively they like to run and gun,” Rivers said. “They shoot the 3, get to the basket, which is all I like to do. They needed another creator, besides Chris (Paul) and James (Harden).

“Once they said Houston, I was (like), ‘This is where I got to go, man. This is where I got to go.’ And as you see, it’s been great.”

The Rockets will host the Bucks on Wednesday. They’ll enter that matchup with a 23-16 record.