Rivers runs through son’s decision to go pro
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he encouraged his son, Austin, to make his own decision about declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft.
Austin Rivers made the announcement Monday that he would renounce his eligibility at Duke University and will hire an agent to represent him.
“He’s my son, I’m happy with the decision,’’ Rivers said after the Celtics’ 102-95 win over the Bobcats Monday night. “It was the whole family involved, we all talked about it. At the end of the day it had to be his decision. We gave as much input as we could. It was a tough one, though. He could have gone either way.’’
Before the game, Rivers had said, “With Austin, you kind of knew that [turning pro] was going to happen, eventually, sooner than later.’’
Rivers averaged 15.5 points this season and was a unanimous selection as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s rookie of the year.
“Put it like this,’’ Rivers said. “If I thought he should stay for sure, it would be easy. But he does have . . . it could go either way and I don’t think there’s a bad choice there.
“Listen, going in the NBA, if you’re going to get drafted in the first round, that’s good. Going back to Duke, that’s good. So I don’t know if you have a bad choice.’’
Rivers said Austin’s relationship with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils’ failure to advance in the NCAA Tournament were factors in his decision.
“He loved it,’’ Rivers said of Austin’s Duke experience. “But, on the other hand, he’s a kid that’s always been around the NBA game. Coach K knew that and that’s why they have such a great relationship this year, because he knew that.
“What’s funny, I asked him, he knew that people didn’t like [Duke] - he had no idea they didn’t like them that much until they got on the road. And he thought that was the most fun, being on the road and fans were killing you and you get a chance to shut them up. That’s exactly what he is, too, so it played right into his hands.
“Whenever you lose in college, if you make the decision then . . . [but] after three or four days you pretty much come to your senses. Obviously, he wanted to make a run because that was part of his goal package when he was young - win AAU, win in college - that part of it made it more difficult.’’
Pietrus in limbo
Mickael Pietrus has not started baseline testing after the concussion be sustained at Philadelphia Friday.
“There is no update, nothing, we’re just talking to him on the phone,’’ Rivers said of Pietrus. “Last I heard, they want to try this week. I think you have to start the baseline tests. They haven’t gotten to that.
“He’s having too many symptoms. I don’t think we’re going to see him for a while.’’
Former Celtic Brian Scalabrine had a concussion during the 2008-09 season, returned quickly, and sustained another concussion. The Celtics are being more cautious now.
“He’s great, he’s back home and he’s talking,’’ Rivers said of Pietrus. “It’s funny, we had it with Scal. You talk to them on the phone, they sound normal. But, obviously, it’s still a factor.
“The first thing he said: ‘I’ve got to get back on the floor.’ Take your time.’’
Allen back soon?
Ray Allen (ankle) missed his third straight game but could return for the Celtics’ home game against Utah Wednesday.
Avery Bradley started in the backcourt along with point guard Rajon Rondo for the second successive game. Bradley scored a career-high 23 points in the win over Washington Sunday and added 11 against the Bobcats.
“You know, all year we haven’t been in the game together, so we’re learning about how each other plays,’’ Bradley said of teaming with Rondo. “I feel it’s going to help us out a lot if we get situations like that.
“I feel like anybody playing with Rondo makes it easier because he’s a playmaker. He can get you wide-open shots and he’s a very good player. Doc tells me and Rondo we have to be cutters, especially with the players on our team. That’s what we try to do, to cut, not only to get shots but to get others open shots.’’
“We’ve liked it in the past,’’ Rivers said of the Bradley-Rondo combination.
“When we did it earlier Avery was not making shots, and you want the ‘2’ guard to make shots. He was not cutting at that time - his improvement has been his cutting. I always believed at some point the shots were going to fall, because we see him make them in practice.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.