Austin Rivers is one of the most well-known role players in the NBA today. His place in the league, as of now, is solidified. Whether he remains with the Denver Nuggets or goes elsewhere at some point, there is little doubt that he will remain in the NBA.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Back in 2015, after a particularly unfruitful run with the New Orleans Pelicans franchise that spent a top-10 pick on him in 2012, he looked like he might not get another shot within the pro ranks.
That is when he linked up with his father, Doc Rivers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. In many people’s eyes, the move saved his career. He went from being viewed as a disappointing bust to valuable contributor on a championship-contending squad.
During a recent interview with Ryen Russillo of The Ringer, Austin Rivers opened up about the ‘hell’ he went through at one point after playing for his dad.
“It’s as if they forgot I was the top player in high school, that I was a lottery pick, that I went to Duke. That all went under the rug when I played for my dad. Nobody gave a f*ck.”@AustinRivers25 spoke about the challenges of playing for his dad early in his NBA career. pic.twitter.com/9SnuVuvmWD
— The Ringer (@ringer) February 4, 2022
“Everything else man, was hell,” he admitted. “Imagine being in a locker room where like say guys were talking about the coach. This happens on every team. Not everybody’s playing, not everybody’s getting along with the coach. … but the coach is my dad. There’s just a dynamic that’s weird there.”
This was something that followed the Nuggets star around for a while.
“Everywhere I played, I got a lot of heat for it,” he continued.
“Everybody was like, ‘You’re only in the league because of your dad.’ That comment I’ve heard too many times. … I played for my dad for two and a half years. I’ve been in the league for 10. There’s a reason why and that’s because I’m one of the best basketball players in the world. But when you play for your dad, that s–t just gets discredited.”
By all accounts, Austin Rivers seems to be in a good place right now. His love life is thriving. His pro career is in a pretty stable position. And while he does occasionally beef with certain folks, he seems to largely have positive relationships around the league.
Would any of that have happened if Doc hadn’t pumped some life back into his career? It’s tough to say for certain.
The explains it. https://t.co/haZEyELgcC
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 1, 2022
For better or worse, that period with the Clippers established Austin Rivers as a legit role player.
Would he change it given the opportunity?