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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Articles tagged: Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers tells great story about an unknown Kyrie Irving surprising everyone at a camp

Kyrie Irving Nets

Kyrie Irving was a one-and-done player at Duke and became the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. You figure a guy like that was long heralded as a top prospect, but according to Austin Rivers, Irving was unknown to many for a while.

Rivers had Sam Cassell as a guest on his “Go Off” podcast and told the story of how Irving showed up at a Deron Williams Skills Academy camp several years ago and stunned everyone.

Keep in mind that Irving was a class ahead of Rivers in school, and Rivers — possibly due to his father Doc being a well-known coach — was hyped as a recruit. This camp probably took place in the late 2000s

“We were there. It was all the top-ranked guys — Brandon Knight, Dion Waiters, Josh Selby, anybody you could name, John Wall, all these guys were there. And I remember they had this kid Kyrie. I think it was in New Jersey, where he’s from. They brought in a local kid. He was the local kid. He wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was like the kid they brought. So they brought in Kyrie. There were only like 20 of us — it was very intimate,” Rivers recalls.

Rivers says they then began doing some drills, and that’s when Irving started to shine and command attention.

“Kyrie gets in the one-on-one drill and starts wearing out everybody. Everyone’s like, ‘who the —-?’ I’ve never heard of this guy’s name. I’m like ‘who the hell is this dude?’”

“So Deron Williams hops in the game. Mind you this is his camp, he was an All-Star during that time. They’re going back and forth. Kyrie’s hitting him with some s—.”

Rivers says Irving’s domination at that academy helped the future No. 1 pick get on the map and says Kyrie soon “blew up” after that in notoriety.

Irving eventually went to Duke but only played 11 games due to a foot injury. He became the No. 1 pick in 2012 by the Cavs and eventually teamed with LeBron James to help them win a championship. Now Irving is teaming up with Kevin Durant on the Nets in a move they had planned for a bit.

H/T Clutch Points

Rockets teammate says James Harden has lost 20 pounds during break

James Harden reaction

An image of a considerably slimmed-down James Harden made the rounds on the Internet last week, and now one of his teammates is putting a figure on it.

In an Instagram Live broadcast this week, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers commented on the bearded superstar’s recent weight loss.

“Y’all can call it what you want but ‘beefy’ Harden was averaging 36 [points per game] so I don’t even know what skinny Harden is gonna do,” said Rivers, per Space City Scoop. “He definitely lost a cool 20 pounds.”

Harden, who had been listed this season at 220 pounds, looked incredibly trim in the recent viral photo, and is said to be doing a number of intensive workouts during the current hiatus.

Though quick and athletic in his own regard, the former MVP is more known for his craftiness and ability to shift gears, so it will be interesting to see how the weight loss impacts his game. For the Rockets, who were sixth in the West when play was suspended, a more slender Harden can only be a positive.

Austin Rivers interested in following father Doc’s footsteps, becoming coach

The apple may not fall far from the tree when it comes to the Rivers family.

In a Facebook Q&A this week with broadcaster Craig Ackerman, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers spoke on his interest in becoming an agent, front office executive, or even a coach like father Doc after his playing career is over.

“I’ve always seen me in the business side of things — either a player agent, or being a GM or president,” said Rivers, per Ben DuBose of USA TODAY. “I’ve always wanted to be in the front office. I love the business side of basketball, and I know it well. I guess the pedigree, and me learning and knowing the game my whole life and being around it. I just think it’s something I could really do well, and that still stands.

“I will say that over the last couple years, coaching has continued to grow,” added the 27-year-old. “It’s something I didn’t see myself possibly doing, but now, it’s a little itch. I’m starting to get to where I feel like 10 years down the road, or however many years I have left, that is something I would like to get into, possibly.”

Austin’s career path is already looking a lot like his father’s, as Doc had a 14-season career playing in the NBA as a journeyman guard. He then took his first head coaching job with the Orlando Magic in 1999 and has since become a top coach in the league and one of only six active ones to win a title.

Following Doc’s lead by playing for him on the LA Clippers did not go so well for Austin, but perhaps beating his father at his own game as a coach (like how the Van Gundy brothers competed against each other) might work out better.

Doc Rivers comments on son Austin’s Instagram post after ejection

Doc Rivers

Austin Rivers seemed like the happiest person in the Toyota Center when his father Doc got ejected from Wednesday night’s Los Angeles Clippers-Houston Rockets game, but Doc clearly was not offended.

Doc Rivers was involved in a heated exchange with the officials late in Wednesday’s game, and Austin immediately began motioning to the refs to slap his dad with a technical foul. Austin then trolled Doc on his way off the court after the Clippers coach was ejected. The actions seemed cold, but Austin took to Instagram after the game and had “Love u pops” as part of his caption on a series of photos he posted. Doc was among those who commented on the post, writing “hilarious … Love you.”

Even though Austin played for his father on the Clippers for four seasons, he has been open about the fact that he and Doc were not that close when Austin was growing up. Their relationship seems to have improved if the social media exchange is any indication.

Austin celebrating his dad’s ejection seemed to be in good fun, as he also joked about it after the game and sent a funny tweet. If there’s ever a situation where Austin is arguing with an officiating crew in the future and Doc is on the opposing bench, we probably know how the Clippers coach will react.

Austin Rivers: Doc’s ejection ‘made my night’

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers had an all-time great troll moment during a game between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game, Doc Rivers was involved in a heated exchange with the refrees. That’s when none other than his son Austin motioned for the officials to give his father a technical foul. After the officials T’d up and ejected the elder Rivers, Austin proceeded to troll his father on Doc’s way off the court.

After the game, Austin said his father getting ejected “made his night.”

Austin has had somewhat of a frosty relationship with his father despite playing for him on the Clippers for four seasons. He has said his dad was not around when he was growing up, so that might explain why he enjoyed the moment on Wednesday night.

The next Rivers family gathering should be very interesting — which is exactly what Rivers said in a joke on Twitter.

Austin Rivers turned down bigger offers elsewhere to return to Rockets

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers believes in the direction that the Houston Rockets are headed.

Rivers, who agreed to re-sign with the team on a one-plus-one contract for the veteran’s minimum, told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that he had bigger offers elsewhere but turned them down to return to Houston. He also said that his goal all along was to stay with the Rockets, calling them “the team to beat.”

The former Duke star is still only 26 years old and played well on both ends of the court last season, making his decision to accept the minimum somewhat surprising. As a team however, Houston is capped out, meaning that this was probably the only way that Rivers would have been able to stay with them.

The Rockets have had a quiet offseason so far, but retaining Rivers for pennies is a solid move to go along with the other upgrades that they are pursuing.

Austin Rivers nailed by Draymond Green screen at end of Game 3

Austin Rivers

The Houston Rockets were unable to celebrate their Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors in their Western Conference semifinals Saturday right away due to their concern over a potential injury to Austin Rivers.

Rivers was leveled on a screen by Draymond Green on the play where Steph Curry blew his dunk in the final 20 seconds.

When the clock ran out on the Rockets’ 126-121 win, Rivers was down on the court and receiving attention from the team’s trainer.

Despite the scare, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said Rivers was “OK” and just thrown off by being blindsided.

Rivers had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 28 minutes. He’ll have a day off to recover before Monday’s Game 4.