CLEVELAND: Doc Rivers’ family tree has deep roots to the Cavaliers. His uncle, Jim Brewer, played for the Cavs after he was selected second overall in the 1973 NBA Draft. His favorite player growing up was Cavs legend Austin Carr.
As a result, Rivers’ son is named Austin James Rivers after both men.
“I put the whole Cleveland Cavalier thing together,” River said Wednesday before his Boston Celtics faced the Cavs.
Rivers attended one of Carr’s basketball camps in Ohio and watched him make more than 40 jump shots in a row. The two have grown close over the years, and when Austin Rivers made a big shot to win a game for Duke a couple years ago, Carr was beaming the next time he saw the Rivers family.
“[Carr] runs out, ‘That’s my boy!’ as only Austin Carr would,” Rivers said. “It’s been pretty fun. It’s been pretty cool.”
The Cavs will face rookie Austin Rivers and the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.
Old man on the team
Chris Quinn is only 29 and feels relatively young, but he’s the third-oldest player in the Cavs’ locker room behind Luke Walton and Anderson Varejao. And with Varejao sidelined for the rest of the season, he’s the second-oldest who is actually playing.
“I think there’s basketball old and then there’s real age old. I still consider myself to be pretty young,” said Quinn, who was signed last week. “I have some experiences that some of these guys don’t have. I’m in my seventh year professionally, I’ve been able to learn a lot of things that hopefully I can pass on to some of them.”
Happy with Sullinger
The Celtics knew when they drafted former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger that he would need back surgery at some point in his career. That happened much sooner than they expected, but they’re still thrilled with the pick.
“We love the pick,” Rivers said. “Where we were at [21st in the draft], we just felt there was nobody better. If he’d come out the year before, he probably would’ve been top five. It was an easy pick for us.”
Rivers said Sullinger likely won’t play in summer league, but should be ready for training camp next season.
“It’s not career-ending [surgery] or anything like that,” Rivers said. “It’s just surgery. We were hoping it’d happen in the summer and he’d get through the year but he didn’t. But he’ll be fine next year.”
Keeping it together
It has been a few years, but Rivers has been in a similar situation to what the Cavs are facing. With their top players injured and playoff hopes long dashed, there is little left to play for as the Cavs finish out the final 12 games.
“The key is they’re young and a lot of the guys are playing for their careers, so that helps. And the veterans they have are playing for their careers,” Rivers said. “The tough part about that is you can get them to play hard, but to get them to play hard together is a little tougher. They’re thinking numbers, contracts … it’s a very, very difficult task.”
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