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


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

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.

Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener


Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener

BOSTON – Marcus Smart’s sprained left ankle injury continues to heal, but the Celtics remain in wait-and-see mode when it comes to his availability for the season opener on Wednesday against Brooklyn.
Smart sprained the ankle in the second quarter of a 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks when he stepped on the foot of Knicks guard Justin Holliday.
He was helped off the floor by teammates Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas along with head trainer Ed Lacerte.
Since the injury, the Celtics have been pleased with the healing progress of the ankle, the same ankle he sprained as a rookie which kept him out for several weeks.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart is no longer in a walking boot and continues to be day-to-day as he receives a steady diet of treatments to help speed up the healing process.
Smart will undergo a series of tests to determine the ankle’s strength, prior to getting any kind of clearance to play.
That’s why Stevens isn’t worried about Smart returning to the floor too soon.
“I trust our staff. Our staff and Marcus will make that decision well,” Stevens said. “Then I play guys, if they are available.”
Smart has established himself as one of the Celtics’ top reserves, with the ability to play both guard positions and some small forward depending on the lineup on the floor. The Celtics have to prepare for the possibility that he will not be able to play in the opener (or the first few games considering Boston opens with three games in four nights.

His absence would create more playing time for Terry Rozier in addition to likely resulting in extended minutes for starters such as Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
As eager as Smart is to get back on the floor, he and the Celtics are mindful of the big picture.
This team wants to make a deep playoff run and they’ll everyone – Smart included – to do so.
That’s why as much as Smart wants to get on the floor immediately, he has to remember – or be reminded of – that this is an 82-game season and his long-term value to this team and its goals can’t be taken for granted.

Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice


Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice

BOSTON - The Celtics got a bit of good news on the injury front with Kelly Olynyk being cleared for full contact.
The 7-foot center participated in most of the Celtics’ drills on Saturday, some of which included contact.
Olynyk said he had been doing some contact work prior to practice Saturday, but in a more controlled setting.
“I’m just trying to ramp it up a little bit more, every day,” Olynyk said. “Just trying to take a step in the right direction every day.”
Olynyk had surgery on his right shoulder in May with him expected to be out for at least five months.
Danny Ainge, C's president of basketball operations, recently said that he anticipated Olynyk returning sometime in the middle of November.
That would put his return about six months out from the time of surgery.

“He did a lot more than he has done,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ll see how he feels and progress at the appropriate rate after that.”
One of the strengths that Olynyk brought to the floor when he played was the ability to help space the floor because of his 3-point shooting.
Olynyk was not just a good 3-point shooter for a center, but one of the better 3-point shooters in the NBA last season when he connected on 40.5 percent of his 3s last season.  And it’s clear that last season was not a fluke, evident by him shooting 37.3 percent on 3s for his career.
However, the addition of Al Horford not only solidified the Celtics’ interior defense but also provides them with another stretch center.
Horford, who spent the past nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, shot 34 percent on 3s last season which at the very least, makes him a player that defenses have to respect when he’s outside of the 3-point line.