WALTHAM, Mass. -- For the second consecutive season, Celtics coach Doc Rivers will have competing allegiances on NBA Draft night. His team owns the 21st and 22nd overall picks, and could very well be wheeling and dealing to move up the board. His family will also be demanding his attention, though, and while his oldest son, Jeremiah, went undrafted during the 2011 draft process, his next youngest, Austin, will most likely be a lottery pick at the annual selection in New York City on June 28.
It'll be family that will take precedent on Thursday, as despite his professional status, the senior Rivers won't be at Celtics headquarters in Boston, but at a table in Madison Square Garden, sitting next to his son, who left Duke University after a freshman season that saw him average over 15 points per game. And New York is exactly where Rivers should be, according to Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge.
"Doc has been here all week, and so we're getting all our ducks in a row, so to speak," Ainge said on Wednesday at an informal press conference with reporters at the Celtics' practice facility in Waltham. "So he's headed to New York with Austin, which is where he should be."
But that doesn't mean Rivers will be spurning his own team, as Ainge noted he expects to be on the phone with his coach numerous times throughout the evening.
"He'll be on the bat phone, and we'll be communicating throughout the draft," Ainge said humorously.
Rivers' real contributions to the Celtics' draft efforts this year might have already come, as he's been able to give more input on certain players since so many of this year's prospects have been playing against Austin for a while now, both in high school and college, and on the AAU circuit.
"He's certainly on top of what's going on with his son, Austin, and he knows where we stand on all of our opinions," Ainge said of Rivers. "Doc knows this draft better than he's known any other draft since he's been here, just because of all the guys that have played with Austin in AAU, and against him. So he has a lot to offer us in this year's draft."
Ainge said Rivers will have the chance to speak to the Celtics' selections if they're present at the draft, but would bid them welcome via phone, if not. If Rivers is at all nervous for Thursday night -- be it for his own club or the fate of his talented son -- he certainly isn't showing it, according to Ainge.
"Doc is always relaxed this time of year. He comes into my office and he's joking around, so he's pretty loose and laid back," Ainge said. "He's in a happy place. He's loose and laid back and playing golf, getting sun. I can't wait for that to happen in a couple months."