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Irish Coffee: Austin Rivers ‘would be great for’ Celtics, says Doc

At the tail end of Doc Rivers [1]‘ weekly interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show (click here [2] to listen in full), the Celtics [3] coach opened up about the possibility of coaching his son Austin Rivers in the NBA.

“I would love the opportunity, I guess,” said Rivers. “It would be uncomfortable. I just think that would be a strange thing to do. Having that said that, I wouldn’t mind. He can score, and I think that would be great for us.”

The best prep guard in the country as a high school senior last winter, Austin Rivers averages a team-leading 13.8 points per game for No. 4 ranked Duke this season, shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. Once projected as a surefire lottery pick, his stock has slipped to No. 21 on ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford‘s Top 100 NBA prospects list [4]. So, what must improve for him to have an impact at the next level?

“Just his whole game,” said the elder Rivers, who despite running practices for their teams once or twice has never coached his four kids. “I think he can score in this league right now. I don’t think he could have any problem with that. I think defensively — just the knowledge on the weak side of the ball — is where he would have to improve.”

The Celtics actually have two first-round picks in the 2012 NBA draft, so it’s not entirely impossible for Austin to fall into Danny Ainge‘s hands. As of this moment, the C’s own pick would be a lottery choice. While nobody expects them to miss the playoffs, a low playoff seed and therefore a pick in the late teens seems highly likely.

Not only that, but the Celtics receive the lower pick between the Clippers and Timberwolves [5] as a result of the Jeff Green [6] deal (top-10 protected), which after the Chris Paul [7] trade almost certainly means the C’s will pick for the Clips somewhere in the low 20s this coming June 28.

With some of the top NBA prospects opting to stay in college for their sophomore seasons (i.e., Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Terrence Jones), partly as a result of the lockout uncertainty, Rivers could be available if the C’s pick, say, 18th. If that scenario unfolded, would Doc crack the whip a bit harder on Austin to avoid players crying nepotism?

“No, I doubt that,” he said. “I think at the end of the day I’m going to be pretty much even with everybody. If he earned minutes to play, he’ll play. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t. Now, I also understand if he didn’t earn them and I didn’t [play him], then I would clearly not be getting dinner at home anytime soon.”

Obviously, Austin could end up staying in school for another season to improve his draft stock for 2013, when the Celtics could actually be a lottery team. So it’s possible in more ways than one. Of course, at that point Ainge would probably pick his own son, Cooper Ainge, who plans to walk on at BYU next season.

(Have a question, concern or conception for the next Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach [8] on Twitter.)