Duke guard Austin Rivers a potential 76ers draft pick

Austin Rivers is a fierce competitor, according to his dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Austin Rivers is a fierce competitor, according to his dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Posted: June 12, 2012

CHICAGO — There will be some divided family loyalties if several pre-NBA draft scenarios play out and the 76ers grab Duke guard Austin Rivers.

Some mock drafts have the Sixers taking the 6-4 shooting guard with their No. 15 selection in the June 28 draft.

That would set up several intriguing in-season Atlantic Division clashes with Rivers' father, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

Father-son dynamics remain positive and Austin Rivers says his dad is a big backer. Still, the younger Rivers also has a well-honed competitive streak and can't wait to play and beat Doc Rivers no matter where he lands.

"He's been here and done this and to have him here to help me out is a big thing," Austin Rivers said during last week's NBA Combine in Chicago. "[But] I'll try to beat him every time I play him. Then I'd have the rights to the upper hand in the household."

Austin Rivers, 19, opted for the 2012 draft after one Blue Devils season where he averaged 15.5 points per game — a move fully supported by his dad. Duke went 29-7 and was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in its opening game by No. 15 seed Lehigh.

Doc Rivers is a Chicago-area native who starred at Proviso East High School, played three seasons at Marquette and 13 years in the NBA. He's in his eighth season as Celtics coach.

Doc Rivers cited his son's competitiveness when asked to describe him.

"He gets frustrated at times just like I did as player when things aren't going right team-wise, but he is as competitive of a player as you will ever get," Rivers told reporters in Boston. "In a crazy way, I've actually heard people knock that, which blows my mind why you would ever knock a guy that's competitive, or I even heard that he's cocky.

“I've yet to meet the uncocky Dwyane Wade or the uncocky LeBron [James] or the uncocky Ray [Allen] or the uncocky Paul [Pierce]. Those are the things that blow my mind when I hear negatives about Austin."

Austin Rivers appears to be a mid-first round selection, not likely to last long enough for Doc Rivers to consider his son with the Celtics' No. 21 selection. Austin Rivers had little to say at the combine about that possibility and his dad has said he would be shocked if Austin was still available.

The question is whether he will be available when the Sixers pick. Rivers was not a full participant in the combine, according to Yahoo Sports, because a team with a late lottery pick promised him that they would draft him. He is scheduled to work out for Portland, Toronto, Houston, Cleveland, Phoenix, New Orleans and Washington, according to the report.

Waiters' promise

Dion Waiters also reportedly has received a promise from a lottery team that it will select him, and he turned into the mystery man at the combine.

Waiters, the Syracuse shooting guard and Philadelphia native, left the combine and returned home after the first day. Waiters never showed for either of two sessions with reporters at a Chicago hotel.

A Twitter account in Waiters' name also had no entry after saying he landed in Chicago at midweek. And his agent, Rob Pelinka, also made no public comment.

Portland, Phoenix and Toronto were rumored to be teams that may have made an offer to Waiters, according to ESPN.

Only the Raptors issued a denial via ESPN. The Trail Blazers have the overall sixth and No. 11 selections in the June 28 draft. Toronto is No. 8 while the Suns are 13th.

Waiters reportedly also canceled all post-combine workouts with teams.

He averaged 12.6 points for a Syracuse team that won the Big East regular-season title but was eliminated in the conference tournament semifinals by Cincinnati.

The Orange (34-3) were denied an NCAA Final Four appearance by Ohio State which eliminated Syracuse, 77-70. n

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