NBA PM: Austin Rivers Would Play for Doc, Celtics
Austin Rivers’ decision to leave Duke for the NBA may have caught some by surprise, but after the initial shock wore off, basketball fans naturally turned their mind to a pretty obvious question: Could Austin play for his dad, Doc, in Boston?
Remember, the Celtics have two first-round picks in 2012: their own and the Los Angeles Clippers’, which they received as part of the Kendrick Perkins trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As of Friday, that would like leave the Celtics picking 18th and 24th, which might be too late to acquire the highly rated Rivers, who, at 6-4, is seen as a high-volume scorer and an above-average athlete.
Boston president Danny Ainge could always package the picks in a trade if he were so inclined to move up in the draft. But would Austin even want to play for his dad?
“If that was to happen, I would love to,” Rivers said WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan,” as quoted by ESPNBoston.com “I would love to play for any organization in the NBA. That’s my dream. It would be great. It would be different. It would be an interesting aspect just to play for my dad.
“If I’m messing up, I want him to be hard on me,” Rivers said, after admitting he has never played for his dad at any level. “If I’m doing good, I want him to pat me on the back. That’s the way he coaches… However he coaches (Rajon) Rondo or Kevin Garnett or Avery Bradley or any other player on that team, I want him to coach me. I don’t want anything handed to me. I never have my whole life. I would have to mature and accept that responsibility. That’s one of the things you look forward to when you decide to go pro.”
The interesting thing is, Rivers has pretty much grown up in the Celtics locker room. Even though he’s lived in Florida and now Durham, NC while his dad has coached the Celtics for the last eight years, Austin is already very familiar with Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, all of whom teased him over his decision to attend Duke.
“They always tease my dad,” Austin told HOOPSWORLD last year around the time that he decided to join the Blue Devils. “Paul [Pierce] said Kansas. Kansas was one of my finals [options]. Rasheed [Wallace], when he played for [the Celtics] hated me because he went to North Carolina. It’s all fun and games, but they still tease my dad about Duke because Duke is the most-hated team in college basketball. To me, it’s the best school though.”
Rivers finished his freshman year averaging 15.4 points per game on a 43.6% clip from the field. If he’s going to play shooting guard, there will be concerns about his height, but fortunately Rivers is athletic enough to overcome a lot of obstacles.
The real question will be on the defensive end. If he’s able to compensate for his size with quickness and aggression he’ll be able to survive in the NBA, and just maybe get a pat on the back from Doc.
Tobias Harris Losing Minutes for the Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are battling the New York Knicks for the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which isn’t exactly the perfect opportunity for 19-year-old combo forward Tobias Harris to cut his teeth in the NBA.
After logging 29.2 minutes for the Tennessee Volunteers last season, the Long Island native has played just 11 minutes per game as an NBA rookie. However, Harris isn’t complaining. He says he hasn’t regretted his decision to leave school early and insists he still has a role, even on a veteran-laden Bucks squad.
“It’s been good, I mean that’s what you play the game for,” Harris told HOOPSWORLD of being in a playoff hunt. “We’re in a tough position, we need every game that we play so as a team we know that we just got to play to our best ability each and every game.
“All I’ve got to do is play my role and do what I got to do,” he continued. “Just play hard and play defense. Just do what we can do to help our team when we’re out there.”
Harris was a respectable shooter and scorer in college, averaging 15.3 PPG on 46% field goal shooting. And while he made just 30% of his 3-point attempts as a collegiate, he says he’s adjusting “pretty well” to the NBA range.
“It’s something for me that’s going continue to grow as I continue to get confidence and continue to shoot the ball,” Harris said.
Harris has hit just 5 of 17 3-point attempts as a rookie, but that figure promises to change as he gets more playing time and begins recognizing his opportunities.
But with such little playing time, Harris hasn’t really been given the chance to see what those opportunities are. Thankfully he hasn’t hesitated to speak with Milwaukee veterans when he has a question about what he should do in certain situations.
“Mainly all the guys,” Harris said. “Drew Gooden, Shaun Livingston it’s basically everybody but those are two in particular that have taken me under their wing.”
Of course, all the tutoring in the world can’t replace actually game experience and even though ESPN’s John Hollinger referred to Harris as a steal with the 19th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, this rookie is going to have to wait the summer league or next season to begin logging major minutes.
In spite of it all, Harris insists he doesn’t regret leaving for the pros, even if he does continue to watch the NCAA Tournament out of the corner of his eye.
“It’s always on so you can’t block it out and I mean on twitter you see it so I pay attention to it,” he said. “I went to Tennessee so it’s kind of hard to say (who will win). Kentucky looks good so I can’t really say they’re going to win it all cause it’s a good race, but I think Kentucky will be in the championship and I think it will be a tough game whoever they play.”
Harris has received DNP-CDs in each of the Bucks’ last two games, so it looks like his playing time will continue to dwindle as the playoff race heats up. But even if he isn’t on the floor this spring, Harris certainly remains in Milwaukee’s plans for the near future.
Anthony Davis Named POY
Kentucky big man Anthony Davis has been named The Associated Press men’s college basketball Player of the Year, receiving 43 of 65 votes before the start of the NCAA Tournament.
The Chicago native was already the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 14.3 points, 10 rebounds and a remarkable 4.6 blocks per game this season.
Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and Michigan State’s Draymond Green received 20 and two votes respectively.
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