BOSTON (CBS) – It’s not easy juggling life as an NBA head coach and family. But Doc Rivers has been doing a pretty good job.
With his 19-year-old son Austin making a name for himself at Duke this past season, Doc spent his off days traveling around the country to watch him play. None of that got in the way of Doc putting together one of his best coaching campaigns in molding an aging and injury-plagued Celtics team into title contenders.
So when the Danny Ainge is making his picks from the Celtics war room in Boston for Thursday’s NBA Draft, he won’t be able to turn to Doc for a reassuring head nod. Instead, he’ll have to get on the phone with Doc, who will be in the middle of all the action in New Jersey.
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For Doc, Thursday will be about family first. He will be at The Prudential Center in Newark with Austin, who is projected to be a lottery pick after an impressive freshman campaign with the Blue Devils.
Doc was there when Austin hit the game-winner against rival North Carolina earlier this year, arguably the biggest moment of his young career. Now he’ll be on hand for the next biggest moment of Austin’s career.
Danny Ainge and the Celtics have no problem with that at all.
“Doc has been here all week, and so we’re getting all our ducks in a row, so to speak,” Ainge said Wednesday at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham. “So he’s headed to New York with Austin, which is where he should be.”
“He’ll be on the bat phone, and we’ll be communicating throughout the draft,” Ainge said with a smile.
All the homework has been done, as the Celtics plan what to do with the 21st and 22nd picks. And with his son playing with and against some of the best talent in the NCAA, it’s actually helped in the Celtics’ scouting process.
“He’s certainly on top of what’s going on with his son, Austin, and he knows where we stand on all of our opinions,” Ainge said. “Doc knows this draft better than he’s known any other draft since he’s been here, just because of all the guys that have played with Austin in AAU, and against him. So he has a lot to offer us in this year’s draft.”
Being in New York will also give Rivers a chance to speak with the Celtics picks — if they are present at the draft. Ainge noted that usually only lottery picks get a spot in the green room, and that might not be the case with the C’s picking so late in the first round.
But most importantly, Rivers will be there for his son. Family comes first, both with the Rivers family and the Celtics.
As Ainge said, “the way it should be.”