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Should the Celtics draft Austin Rivers? 03.23.12 at 2:55 pm ET
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Austin Rivers, the talented son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, will reportedly declare for the draft after just one season at Duke, per Jeff Goodman of CBSSports. Austin Rivers began the year as the one of the nation’s top recruits but concerns over his lack of ideal scoring guard size — he’s 6-foot-4 — and playing style — high usage rate, undersized shooting guard — sent him from the preseason lottery to the middle of the first round in most draft projections.

Rivers averaged 15.5 points, and shot 43 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range with 3.4 rebound and 2.1 assists. He also had more turnovers than assists, which indicates that he’s probably more of a scoring guard than a point guard, but he’s still just 19 years old and has the time to develop and figure it out.

Rivers is also undeniably talented. Even if you barely watched him play, you no doubt saw his fluid game-winner that beat North Carolina. Here’s part of the scouting report from Draft Express, who has him ranked 18th at the moment:

“It was Rivers’ athleticism and scoring instincts that made him the catalyst for the Blue Devils offense and defined his role as freshman. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Rivers’s total number of pick and rolls and isolations used this season (356 over 34 games) ranks in the top-5 in the NCAA. Perhaps the only player on Duke’s roster dynamic enough to consistently distort defenses with his dribble penetration and generate his own shot in a pinch, Rivers may not have been his team’s primary ball-handler, but he was the creative force behind his team’s offense all year long, for better or worse.”

It’s worth reading the whole report because he improved steadily in the second half of Duke’s season and again, he’s just 19 years old. (Prediction: Rivers will rise back to the late-lottery).

The Celtics have two first round draft picks in 2012: Their own, plus the one from the Clippers that was acquired from Oklahoma City in the Kendrick Perkins trade. The pick is top-10 protected, but the Clippers seems well on their way to the playoffs, even if they implode along the way.

Those picks are in the 17-18 range for the Celtics and 20-21 for the Clippers, which is exactly where Rivers is slotted to fall at the moment. Even if he was available, it would be surprising if Danny Ainge selected the coach’s son.

First, there’s the simple matter of a coach who is demanding on rookies — a notion the coach says is overplayed — who would also happen to be the rookie’s father. Second, they already have a guard who needs the ball in his hands in Rajon Rondo, a legitimate All-Star point guard, who also happens to have a complicated relationship with the coach.

Coach Rivers has been cagey with his answers about the question. This is what he told Dennis & Callahan in January:

“I would love the opportunity, I guess. 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.”

Doc Rivers has clearly enjoyed watching his son play, often rushing to ACC games during off-days in the Celtics’ schedule. It would be a fascinating story, no doubt, and as coach Rivers said, an argument could be made either way. Still, the educated guess here is that the Celtics will avoid what could be a potentially awkward arrangement.

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Irish Coffee: Kobe Bryant on his admiration of Austin Rivers, love of Rob Gronkowsi and ignorance of Jeremy Lin 02.10.12 at 8:52 am ET
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Despite his team emerging victors by an ugly 88-87 margin in an overtime game, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant sounded more impressed by the Celtics than his own squad when asked if the two once great and now aging championship clubs mirrored one another.

“I don’€™t know,” said Bryant, who finished with 25 points on 24 shots. “They’€™ve got three Hall of Famers and a fourth one coming. That don’€™t look too familiar to me over here.”

Not only did Bryant sound off about his own teammates, but he pulled no punches on the topics of Rob Gronkowski, Austin Rivers and Jeremy Lin (particularly priceless stuff), among other subjects thrown his way. The following are highlights from the Black Mamba’s postgame interview.

ON THE CELTICS

“We know each other so well. The unit we had on the floor, and their unit — we’€™ve played against each other so many darn times. We know what’€™s coming before it happens.”

[Asked again about the rivalry:] “It’€™s always a brawl in every fight. It’€™s ugly. It’€™s physical. I’€™ve enjoyed competing against them. I like all of them personally. On the court, that personal stuff goes out the window. It’€™s been fun.”

[And again:] “It’€™s a throwback in the sense that we’€™re old school. Ray [Allen] is old school. Paul [Pierce] is old school. Kevin [Garnett] is old school. And so is Rajon [Rondo]. How we prepare for the game, how much the game means to us, you can see the emotion that they pour into it, how much they put into the game, you don’€™t really see that too much from the young guys nowadays.”

[And again:] “It’€™s been great. It’€™s been a dream come true growing up and watching it. Here I am part of it. It’€™s great. The only difference between us and the ‘€˜80s is that guys over there in the other locker room I actually know and like. That’€™s the big difference between this time around and the ‘€˜80s.”

[And again:] “They’€™ve been playing extremely well. They’€™ve won nine out of their last 10 games coming into tonight, so they’€™re figuring things out obviously. Us, we’€™re still searching. It’€™s a whole new system. We’€™re trying to figure things out still. You kind of see it on the court. You kind of see things that are kind of botched plays every now and then, miscommunication now and then, because we’€™re kind of practicing things on the fly. But all in all, we’€™ll be Ok. Both of us will.”

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryan
Duke’s Austin Rivers hits buzzer beater against UNC 02.09.12 at 9:10 am ET
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I’m not sure what’s better: The deadeye 3-pointer Duke freshman Austin Rivers made against rival North Carolina to beat the buzzer or Doc’s reaction. Now, the coach’s Celtics host the Lakers. A good week for the Rivers family.

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Irish Coffee: Austin Rivers ‘would be great for’ Celtics, says Doc 01.19.12 at 12:51 pm ET
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At the tail end of Doc Rivers‘ weekly interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show (click here to listen in full), the Celtics 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. 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.”

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Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
10 Things I Heard About Celtics IV 08.30.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’€™s still plenty to learn about Boston’€™s green men. Here are 10 more C’€™s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘€œ10 Things I Heard About Celtics’€ III and III) ‘€¦

10. The success of the 1985-86 Celtics (67-15; 40-1 home; 15-3 playoffs) stemmed from not only talent but intellectualism, according to this recent NBA.com puff piece. The team featured six future NBA head coaches: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Rick Carlisle and Sam Vincent. Not to mention quote machine Bill Walton. Here’s what McHale and Walton had to say on the subject …

  • Kevin McHale: “We had a lot of guys on that team who really knew the game and understood what it took and what it meant to play it the right way. I kinda took it for granted, thinking that was the way everybody played, because I had been around guys with the Celtics where everyone understood that. I probably realized for the first time that it wasn’t that way everywhere when Danny Ainge told me that other people couldn’t totally change their game plans during a timeout and then go right out onto the floor and execute it. It was after Danny got traded to Sacramento and he said that if that team didn’t work on something in practice for three days, there was no way they could do it in a game. We could devise a whole new scheme in a timeout and then just go do it. I guess everybody on that Celtics team just had a good basketball mind.”
  • Bill Walton: “Everyone constantly thought basketball. Everyone always played a mental game. Even though we were a team that physically had the tools necessary to be at highest level of the game, it was the mental edge that allowed that team to be so special.”

9. Reason No. 893 Celtics guard Ray Allen is cool: While every other NBA player is seemingly shopping himself overseas or making headlines in exhibition games against questionable competition, the 3-point king works on his golf game as if it were just another off-season.

Last month, Allen played in Lake Tahoe. Two weeks ago, in Connecticut. Next week, in New Jersey at the Liberty Cup Charity Golf Tournament with golfer Natalie Gulbis and “Desperate Housewives” star Kyle MacLachlan. All for charity.

I guess that’s why Allen was cast as Jesus Shuttlesworth in “He Got Game” and not someone like Kobe Bryant (interesting tidbit: Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury were reportedly approached for that role, but their agent wanted a guarantee that one of them would get the part).

8. As we’ve discussed previously, Austin Rivers and his Duke basketball teammates are traveling China and the United Arab Emirates, crushing every team in their path. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is also with the team to watch his son make fools out of people internationally. Dubai newspaper Gulf News caught up with the pair that hopes to soon become the third father-son NBA duo in history (Jan Van Breda Kolff and Butch Van Breda Kolff; Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Mike Dunleavy Jr.). Here’s what Doc had to say about his son and vice versa … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
10 Things I Heard About Celtics II 08.16.11 at 12:07 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’€™s links of interest we discovered over the past 24 hours (the first “10 Things I Heard About Celtics” is here) ‘€¦

10. As SLAM noted, Celtics free agents and Louisiana natives Glen Davis and Von Wafer both made the top five plays from this past weekend’s Tournament of the Stars Basketball Clinic in Lake Charles, La. Big Baby’s post-clutch-3-pointer “big balls” dance is an instance classic, as is Wafer’s posterization. Both players would like to remain in Boston once the NBA lockout ends, and Wafer has already signed a one-year deal to play in Italy.

9. While every other NBA player tosses his name into the overseas rumor mill, Celtics captain Paul Pierce is content with his hobbies on vacation. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant‘s agents have been busy shopping him everywhere from China to Brazil, but Pierce can’t get enough poker, fishing and scheduling volunteer work — promoting his Truth on Health campaign on HGTV by making over his hometown Inglewood (Calif.) High’s athletic facilities on Aug. 20 and bowling with Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett and Celtics free agent Glen Davis in the 5th Annual Beckett Bowl on Aug. 29.

Of course, Pierce will play overseas — for his country. He and Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley will help form a United States All-Star team at the Continental Club Championships in Beijing from Aug. 20-28. Somehow I doubt Pierce will be earning $375,000 or whatever it is Bryant is seeking per week for his China sojourn. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo, Delonte West
Doc’s son Austin Rivers is still pretty unbelievable 08.11.11 at 12:35 pm ET
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The oft-highlighted run of Duke University’s No. 1 recruit Austin Rivers — son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers — finally came to an end at the Greater NC Pro-Am (aka, “Rucker of the South”), but not before he entered a few more highlights into the fray. First, he dunked on former Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace. Then, he made NC State’s Lorenzo Brown look ridiculous. Now? Austin just makes everyone look silly. I mean, the two crossover spin moves in the embedded video are absurd.

All of which made me wonder: Why didn’t the Celtics just spend the No. 55 second-round pick they used to select E’Twaun Moore on Austin Rivers, wait for him to play one season at Duke and sign him in 2012 — a la Larry Bird in 1978? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Duke University men's basketball
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