Austin Rivers: Best Fits for Celtics Coach's Promising Son in NBA Draft

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Austin Rivers #0 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a shot in the second half while taking on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One would expect Austin Rivers to have big expectations. The son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and a one-year star at college basketball powerhouse Duke will put huge expectations on anybody.

However, not only do Rivers' bloodlines and collegiate experiences drive his potential, but so do his expectations of himself. The 19-year-old has so much faith in his abilities, and in his potential, that he's one of the most intriguing players in all the draft.

With the lottery order now set, here's a look at the best fits for Rivers in the 2012 draft.


Portland Trail Blazers (No. 11)

For too many years now the Blazers have been stuck in neutral—both systematically and in league standing.

Their league standing imploded this year on the heels of the unfortunate Brandon Roy situation, and now it's time for a complete overhaul.

Thanks to the New Jersey Nets, who essentially rented Gerald Wallace for all of 16 games in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick, the Blazers will chose twice in the top 11.

The first of the two selections is too high for the potential-laden Rivers, but the second pick is not. He's an uptempo guy who loves to push the basketball, wants the rock in his hands with the game on the line and still has his best ball ahead of him.

If the Blazers don't have a higher-ranker guard fall to them at No. 6, Rivers at No. 11 would give them the boost they've lacked in the backcourt the past few years.


Phoenix Suns (No. 13)

Rivers isn't going to be the replacement for Steve Nash, but he can help replace his potential missing production as a scorer in the backcourt.

Depending on which guards come off the board in the Top 10, the Duke star may not only be the best fit for them, he may be the only one for them at this stage in the draft.

The youngster still needs to develop in a number of areas, but he can immediately help a team that isn't that far from making a postseason push again.


Houston Rockets (No. 16)

Much of the same goes for the Rockets here in the second of their two picks—they could jump on him with the No. 14 as well.

This team is looking for more production in its backcourt (it would also like a young center) and Rivers gives them a ready-made replacement for Kevin Martin should it find a way to offload him this offseason.

Rivers wouldn't have to star right away but has star potential and can take time to develop behind Courtney Lee.


Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 18)

Adding someone off the ball alongside Ricky Rubio is something the Timberwolves would love to do. If Rivers falls this far—as this should be his absolute floor—Minnesota won't hesitate.

He'd be a great addition for Rubio but, more importantly, the star point guard will dramatically help the to-be rookie develop his off-the-ball game.

Minnesota is closing in on finally making a run back to the postseason, and Rivers would be an ideal pick this late in the draft.