Doc Rivers' son, Austin, coached by good friend Monty Williams

Doc Rivers' son, Austin, coached by good friend Monty Williams
June 29, 2012, 5:41 am
Share This Post

BOSTON Doc Rivers has a great amount of respect and admiration for all his NBA coaching brethren.

But he has said on may occasions that the bond that exists between him and New Orleans head coach Monty Williams is different.

So when the call came in that the Hornets were going to draft his son Austin with the 10th overall pick, naturally Rivers was ecstatic about the selection.

"I couldn't have picked a better guy for me, and for Austin," the elder Rivers said. "Monty's going to coach him. Austin is going to have to get used to that, and that's good."

Williams, who just completed his second season as the Hornets' head coach, attributes many of his coaching philosophy to Rivers.

"He's been a bit of a mentor; a bit of a sounding board for me," Williams said in an interview this past season. "Our families are close. And he's been willing to risk our relationship to tell me the truth. I find myself doing that."

Their relationship goes back to when they were teammates in New York and later, San Antonio. When Rivers became the head coach of the Orlando Magic, he wound up adding Williams to his roster.

One of the greatest lessons Williams learned from Rivers came during Williams' rookie season.

During warm-ups, Williams was asked by a couple teammates to dunk the ball.

He does a windmill jam. He follows that up with another dunk. And another. And

Rivers pulled him aside and, according to Williams, "just ripped me."

Instead of dunking, Rivers encouraged him to work on his game.

Otherwise, 'you're going to be out of this league in two to three years if you don't work on your game,'" Williams recalled being told. "And he walked away from me."

Williams added, "I was mad and embarrassed but I understood he was trying to look out for my career."

You can expect that kind of tough love with Austin Rivers, one of the top freshman in the country this past season at Duke.

"I'm not going to lie. It is different. You know, I'm looking at a kid (Rivers) that I watched grow up," Williams told reporters following the draft. "But you guys know me. If he messes with the game, I'll forget his last name real quick."

Which is just how his father - and Williams' good friend - would want it.

"I couldn't have picked a better guy to coach my son," the elder Rivers said.