NEW ORLEANS —When Hornets guard Austin Rivers struggled through the early part of this, his rookie season, he turned to his father, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
So Tuesday night, when the two Rivers men went out for dinner, the father turned the table on the son.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever paid for my dad,” Austin Rivers said. “He said he has taken care of me my whole life so I’ve got to catch up.”
Problem is, the father is still helping the son, paid dinner or not. Doc continues adding to the bill of fare what his son owes him.
In 61 games, including 26 starts, Rivers averaged 6.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.2 turnovers per game. But he broke his hand earlier in March and will miss the rest of the season.
“He was just mad just like I was,” Austin Rivers said. “I was having fun. It was fun playing basketball. I was looking forward to each night.”
But it’s more than just the broken hand.
Austin turned to Doc when he was having problems earlier in the season, having what one website termed as the worst rookie season ever put together.
“I always go to him and he helped me through all those rough patches I had to the point where when things started to go really well, I still talked to him,” Rivers said. “I wanted to keep playing the way I was.”
The youngster, however, realizes that he’s going to have to learn for himself if he’s ultimately going to be a long-term professional.
Though he’d rather be on the court, he’s looking at the bright side of his season-ending injury.
“Sometimes if you just take a step back – for the rest of the year I’ll be watching – and you learn a lot,” Rivers said. “You see more as you watch. When you’re playing, you’re so concentrated on winning. As a fan or teammate watching, as I have to do the rest of the year, I’m going to see a lot of things.”