LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Less than a week after Austin Rivers joined the Los Angeles Clippers to play for Doc Rivers and form the NBA’s first father-son, player-coach combination, the duo remain focused solely on basketball.
The Clippers paid a steep price to bring in Austin and the trade, which has captured the interest of those around the team, was a sentimental story that masked a risky move by Doc, who also makes team personnel decisions.
“How big this has become is laughable to me,” Doc told reporters before his team’s win over the Boston Celtics on Monday. “I’ll be glad when this is all over.”
Speculation about the trade will not soon end, particularly if Austin cannot produce. Through three games with the Clippers, the guard has three points and is 1-of-10 from the field in 43 minutes.
Austin recorded his first field goal on Monday, a driving, over-the-shoulder scoop that flashed his offensive imagination, but he is clearly battling a learning curve.
“The biggest thing for me are the (play) calls,” Austin told reporters. “The calls here are opposite of what they meant to me a week ago”
Austin, 22, has found his adjustment to the NBA tougher than many expected. A 6-foot-4 guard with a scorer’s mentality, he was a top prospect.
New Orleans made Austin a first-round draft pick in 2012 but he never found his niche, averaging 6.9 points per game. He was traded to Boston earlier this month and swiftly dealt to the Clippers three days later.
Austin certainly deserves a grace period in finding his way in Los Angeles, but the Clippers do not have margin for error in a stacked Western Conference.
The Clippers are sixth in the West and need Austin to play a prominent role with their second-unit after waiving veteran guard Jordan Farmar in order to make room for him.
Doc continues to deflect his own role as Austin’s father in lieu of being his coach.
“I talked to my wife (and Austin’s mom) long before we did it,” Doc said. “She said if you think he helps the team do what you feel is right.”
Austin, also, is focused on his status as player and not son. He stays in a Los Angeles apartment rather than with his parents and would prefer the loquacious Doc not share family secrets with the public.
“He’s got to keep some stories to himself.” Austin said.
Editing by Frank Pingue