Hornets guard Austin Rivers stopped by the Scott Van Pelt show Wednesday to discuss his upcoming rookie season with New Orleans, but the topic of conversation, as it so often does, shifted quickly to his father, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
The younger Rivers acknowledged that growing up with a father in the NBA gave him the opportunity to see how quickly new players need to mature and adjust to the rigors of the professional ranks.
"Well, this is a league full of grown men, and if you don't take it on the right way, you'll be out, quick," said Rivers, who spent one year playing for Duke. "And I've seen it firsthand. I think that's the main opportunity that I've had, being his son, is getting to see how guys approach it, and how some turn out well and some don't. And that's the main thing. And this wasn't my dream, as far as my biggest dream yet. It's part of it, and I'm very glad to be here and I'm blessed, and I thank God. But now I set higher goals for myself and I want to keep working hard and act as if I don't play in the NBA, as if I'm still trying to get there, and that's how you have to keep working."
The elder Rivers is expected to be coaching the Celtics for many seasons to come, but the NBA has proven to be unpredictable, so could father and son team up as a coach-player duo at some point in the future?
"That would be crazy. It's one of those things where if it happened it happened, if it didn't it didn't. I love my coach now. I have a great coach, somebody I've actually known for my whole life, coach [Monty] Williams," Rivers said. "So I'm actually very happy to be where I'm at. But if the opportunity ever presents itself, that would be cool. You never know what can happen in the future. If I go in there and work hard like I plan to, and hopefully everything works out, maybe I might have an opportunity in the Olympics in the future and he might coach. There's just so many opportunities that might present itself and if it does, I know he's going to still be probably harder on me than everybody else."
The two put the promise of future competition aside on draft night, when family support trumped eventual bragging rights as Austin's name was called with the 10th overall pick. He didn't shy away from embracing the moment with his parents.
"No, it was cool to me," Rivers said. "I got emotional, to be completely honest, just because I've been watching [my father] my whole life -- him doing his thing whether he's been playing or coaching. Now for him to be there watching me, supporting me, it's crazy. It really does show hard work pays off. When I hugged him and my mom, that was one of the happiest moments that I've had so far in my life and I'm just very blessed."