Austin James Rivers is an American professional basketball who last played for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. Rivers led Winter Park High School to back-to-back Florida 6A state championships in 2010 and 2011.
He was one of the top rated high school basketball players in the class of 2011, being rated as high as No. 1 by Rivals.com. On September 30, 2010, Rivers committed to Duke University. Rivers gained national recognition after making a game winning 3-pointer against Duke rival North Carolina in 2012. He was drafted with the 10th pick in the NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), playing three seasons there before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. After three years with the Clippers, he was traded to the Wizards in June 2018. In December 2018, he joined the Houston Rockets.
On January 16, 2015, Rivers became the first player in NBA history to play for his father, coach Doc Rivers, then-head coach of the Clippers.
In 2010, Rivers led Winter Park High School to the school’s first state title in a 76–57 win against Dr. Phillips School in the 6A state championship. Rivers scored 23 points in the game. In June 2010, Rivers was a part of the gold medal winning team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship where he set a Team USA record for an U18 event with 35 points against Canada. On August 5, 2010, Rivers was named to the fifth annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 game, where he was named co-MVP after he had 25 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
On March 5, 2011, Rivers led Winter Park to back to back Florida 6A state championships, in which he had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals. Rivers was named the 2011 Naismith Prep Player of the Year on March 10, 2011. He was also an All-American and All-State honouree, and played in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit for Team USA.
As a freshman, Rivers played in Duke’s exhibition games in China and Dubai during an international tour in August 2011. In the first game against the China men’s basketball team, Rivers scored 18 points on 8–19 shooting and led Duke to a 77–64 victory. His second game (also against the Chinese national team), Rivers scored 12 points in a 78–66 victory, making several dunks during the first half. In the final game played in Beijing, Rivers chipped in 11 points as Duke topped the Chinese, 93–78. In his team’s 86–66 victory over the Dubai national team, he scored 16 points, including 10 in the second quarter, on an array of impressive drives.
On February 8, 2012, his three-point basket as time expired allowed Duke to overcome an 82–72 deficit with two minutes to play in an 85–84 victory over the University of North Carolina. The victory ended North Carolina’s 31 game winning streak at the Dean Smith Centre.
On March 16, 2012, Rivers’ college career ended in the “Round of 64” of the NCAA tournament, when Duke lost to Lehigh University. Rivers shot 5-14 from the field, while playing 34 minutes. Lehigh led for most of the game, earning their first NCAA Tournament victory.
On March 26, 2012, Rivers declared for the NBA Draft, foregoing his final three years of college eligibility.
Rivers was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th overall pick the 2012 NBA Draft. Rivers chose to wear the #25 jersey, the same number his father wore when he was in the NBA. The night before Rivers said, “I want to be like my dad, only better.” On July 24, 2012, Rivers signed his rookie scale contract with the Hornets. Three days later, Rivers underwent successful surgery to clean up bone spurs in his right ankle.
On October 31, 2012, Rivers made his NBA debut in the Hornets’ season opener against the San Antonio Spurs. In 24 minutes as a starter, he scored 7 points on 1-of-9 shooting in a 99–95 loss. December 14, he scored a then career-high 27 points in a 113–102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On March 6, 2013, he broke his hand and subsequently required surgery that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. For his rookie season, he averaged 6.2 points on 37% shooting from the field and 33% from three-point range. In April 2013, the Hornets changed their name to the Pelicans.
Playing under his father.
On January 12, 2015, Rivers was traded to the Boston Celtics in a three-team trade involving the Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies. Three days later, he joined his father at the Los Angeles Clippers after he was traded in a three-team trade involving the Celtics and the Phoenix Suns. On January 16, Rivers made his debut for the Clippers and became the first son to play for his father in an NBA game. February 21, Rivers scored a then career-high 28 points in a 129–98 win over the Sacramento Kings.
On May 8, he scored a playoff career-high 25 points in the Clippers’ 124–99 victory that gave them a 2–1 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals against the Houston Rockets.
June 26, 2018, Rivers was traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Marcin Gortat. On December 17, 2018, Rivers was traded with Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Phoenix Suns for Trevor Ariza. Rivers was waived by the Suns the following day.
Rivers signed with the Houston Rockets on December 24, 2018. On January 5, 2019, he scored a season-high 21 points in a 110–101 loss to the Portland Trailblazers. On April 7, in a 149–113 blowout win against the Phoenix Suns, Rivers made the 27th three-pointer of the game with 1:09 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, beating the Rockets’ own previous record of most made threes by one team in a game (26). He appeared in 47 games while averaging 8.7 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game. The Rockets won 72% of their games after signing Rivers. He started 13 straight games as a Rocket from Dec. 31 through Jan. 25, averaging 11.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 38.1 minutes per game.
On November 27, 2020, Rivers was acquired by the New York Knicks via a sign-and-trade deal. On March 25, 2021, Rivers was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three team trade. Rivers was waived by the Thunder on March 28, 2021.
Rivers was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers and Kristen Rivers. His older brother, Jeremiah, played basketball for Georgetown and Indiana and later joined the Maine Red Claws, while his older sister Callie played volleyball for the University of Florida and is married to his former Duke teammate Seth Curry. His younger brother, Spencer, is a guard who currently plays for UC Irvine.
He was named Austin after former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Austin Carr, while his middle name, James, is in honour of his great-uncle Jim Brewer.
His first child with Brittany Hotard, Kayden, was born in 2018.
As of 2020, Rivers is expecting his second child with Audreyana Michelle. Their son was born in March 2021.
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