What if the Celtics take Austin Rivers?

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What if the Celtics take Austin Rivers?

When Doc Rivers signed his five-year extension with the Celtics, the joke was that he only came back for a chance to coach his son.

Not that it was a particularly funny joke, but at the time it was funnier than it was realistic. Back then (waaay back in May 2011), the Celtics were perennial contenders who hadn't drafted higher than No. 19 since the Big 3 came together. Meanwhile, Rivers was considered a potential Top 5 pick; a lottery pick at the very, very least.

Austin Rivers to the Celtics? Interesting conspiracy. But not happening.

Or so we thought.

And still we think, but since last May things have slightly changed. Not so much for the Celtics who, if the season ended today, would have the 17th and 24th (from LAC) picks in the draft. But more on Rivers' end.

After an uneven season at Duke, one that left many scouts hoping he'd head back for another year, some experts predict that Rivers will not only fall out of the lottery but might even be available when the Celtics are on the clock.

Last week, in his first Mock Draft for ESPN.com (Insider Only), Chad Ford actually has the Celtics passing over Rivers at No. 17 for Kentucky's Terrence Jones. He has Austin going to Houston with the 21st pick.

Now obviously that's all insanely premature, as so much can and will change as far as where teams draft. And obviously Rivers will have a ton of individual workouts and interviews that may alter his standing. Not to mention, Chad Ford isn't an NBA GM.

Still, now more than ever, there exists a possibility that the Celtics will be on the clock this June, with Austin Rivers still sitting in the green room. He's a scoring two-guard. And while he may be undersized for the NBA position, that's a place where the Celtics (assuming Ray Allen heads elsewhere) could use some help. So what do you think?

We joked about Doc Rivers having a chance to coach his son, but what if that chance actually presents itself? Would the Celtics pull the trigger? Maybe trade Avery Bradley and start billing Rivers and Rondo as the back court of the future? Or is that just inviting all sorts of unnecessary controversy to a situation that already has its fair share?

Personally, I'm still not convinced these draft picks will even stay with the Celtics. At the very least, I don't expect them to make both picks. I mean, what will Doc do if the Celtics add TWO more rookies to next year's roster? Isn't that his worst nightmare? Asking Doc to work with rookies is like asking Superman to work with kryptonite, and if that's the case heading into next year's training camp, Doc might go insane.

This is a guy who's down to a seven-man rotation, has an aging core that needs to stay healthy and rested for the playoffs, yet still refuses to give JaJuan Johnson a shot. Last month, Johnson played 33 minutes against the Bulls that's Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, one of the strongest front courts in the league and completely held his own. He had 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block. And more importantly, the Celtics won. Now he can't get off the bench?

The same thing happened earlier this season with Greg Stiemsma. He started playing really well (we're talking relatively, of course). He was the biggest surprise of the early part of the season. Then suddenly he falls out of the rotation. He didn't even play himself out of it (at least not in games). Then a few weeks ago, he gets another chance, and goes back to doing the exact same thing that he was at the beginning of the year. Now everyone's like, "Wow, look at Stiemsma coming on strong! He's really turned himself into a pro." But the truth is that he had this in him all along, he was just buried. The same way Johnson is now.

That's why I think it's far more likely that at least one of those picks are traded away as a piece in a bigger deal by Danny Ainge. But I guess that doesn't answer my original question:

What happens if the Celtics are on the clock, and Austin Rivers is still available? If instead of having to frantically fly around on off-days in order to catch his son's games (like he's done the past few years), Doc has the chance to coach his son every single day? IN THE NBA.

I'm sure it's a decision that Doc will have to wrestle with. Whether or not he's ever actively pushed for Austin to end up in Boston, I'm sure it's something he's considered, even dreamed about. How could he not?

But in the end, I don't see how he lets that dream get in the way of Celtics basketball. Especially when you consider how overly sensitive everyone would be about the motivation behind bringing his son on board. If Rivers does somehow end up on the Celtics, it will have to be for the right reasons. And the bigger issue is: Do those right reasons exist?

Is there anyway bringing on an undersized scorer like Austin Rivers is more essential than drafting an athletic power forward like Jones or a legitimate center?

I doubt it. Which is why I, and most people still highly doubt, there will be a Rivers family reunion at next season at the Garden.

Or that if there is, the younger Rivers will be wearing the wrong jersey.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are far from being healthy heading into tonight’s must-win Game 5, but they will have all of their players available with the exception of Isaiah Thomas (hip).

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown (right hip) was questionable heading into tonight’s game, but he told CSNNE.com earlier that he was planning to give it a go tonight.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed later on that the 6-foot-7 rookie would in fact play tonight.

His presence tonight is one of the many keys to Boston’s efforts to keep their season alive.

They trail Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a loss tonight ending their season and with that, sending the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Boston’s Amir Johnson (right shoulder) did not play in Game 4, but will be in uniform and available to play tonight. Stevens said the 6-foot-9 veteran was healthy enough to play in Game 4 but Stevens elected to keep him out of the game because he wanted Johnson to have more than one day to rest his shoulder before potentially playing him again.

In other injury-related news, Stevens confirmed comments made earlier in the day by Danny Ainge regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs after the injury proved to be too much for him to play through at halftime of Boston’s Game 2 loss.

Speaking during 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, Ainge said there was “a lot” of inflammation around the affected joint on Thomas’ right hip.

“It had gotten worse from the MRI’s he had before,” said Ainge who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Said Stevens: “It sounds to me like the course of action right now … is let the inflammation go down a little bit.”

Ainge said earlier that because of the inflammation, it will likely be at least a couple weeks before Thomas and the Celtics will know if he will require surgery or whether another form of treatment will be needed.

Because of that uncertainty, Ainge stressed that Thomas would not return to play in this series even if it were closer.

“No. No way. He’s done (for the season),” Ainge said.