Monday, July 16, 2012
All in the family
By Greg Payne
Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty ImagesLAS VEGAS -- The Boston Celtics don't kick off their Las Vegas Summer League slate until 4 p.m. Monday, but Austin Rivers, who at this point feels like an extended member of the Celtics family due to his familial ties to head coach Doc Rivers, underwent his first Summer League action Sunday night as the New Orleans Hornets dropped their opener to the Portland Trail Blazers, 85-82.
Austin Rivers, son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in his Hornets uniform.
Rivers suffered through a rough 3-of-13 shooting night en route to 14 points, but it was his play as the team's starting point guard that garnered the most attention. The Hornets plan on keeping Rivers at the lead guard spot next season, which places a greater importance on Summer League action as he adjusts to a position he's never played before.
"I've been just trying to get used to it. It's something that's new for me, but I like the position," Rivers said after the Hornets squandered a 17-point lead. "I'm an attacking point guard, just trying to score and make plays for my teammates, and I started to get a lot better as the game wore on. I started attacking more, I started getting guys more shots, and you live and you learn."
Rivers finished with just two assists, but utilized a lightning quick first step to attack the lane and try to create openings for himself and his teammates. Though discouraged over the Hornets giving up such a large lead, Rivers took his own performance in stride, knowing it's just the first step of a much more substantial growth process.
"Listen, it's a challenge. I know I'm up to it," said Rivers, who couldn't get a game-tying 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left to drop. "I'm going to work. I'll be ready. Tonight was my first time I've ever done it in my life, so you learn. But I know I can do it. I got four more games, a million more practices. I'll be ready.
"You've just got to get a feel for being a point guard. I've been a scorer my whole life, so being a point guard is totally something different. Like I said, it takes reps. This was my first rep, so as more reps come, I'm going to get better."
The Celtics were rumored to be interested in moving up to obtain Rivers if he had slipped down, but the Hornets swooped him up with the 10th pick.