Austin Rivers finally set for the Knicks debut against Raptors

The Knicks previously had only two father-and-son combinations for the organization. On the last night of 2020, they will add a third.

After missing the entire preseason and the first four games of the regular season with a groin injury, kitchen guard Austin Rivers is expected to make his Knicks debut against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa on Thursday night. Rivers’ father Doc, the current head coach of the Philadelphia Sixers, played for the Knicks from 1992-94.

According to the 28-year-old Rivers, he injured his groin a few days before being acquired in a drawing and trading business with Houston on November 22, and agreed to a three-year deal worth $ 10 million with the Knicks. However, only the first year of the agreement is guaranteed.

“It was an adjustment. I have never missed a full training camp. I could not play a game, a preseason game, I have not even gone 5-on-5 yet. “Just get it right,” Rivers said before Thursday’s game. ‘It’s basketball at the end of the day. You just go out there and play hard and it’s not a rocket science. You’re just trying to help the team win. ”

The nine-year-old NBA veteran added that he was not sure if he would limit a few minutes in his Knicks debut, or that he would fit in a queue rotation behind starters Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett.

Austin Rivers Knicks
Austin Rivers is going to make his Knicks debut tonight.
Niko Rodriguez /

Frank Ntilikina (sprained right knee) and Dennis Smith Jr. (left four-wheel drive) was ruled out for Thursday’s game, with Alec Burks (sprained left ankle) and rookie Immanuel Quickley (hip pointer) being questionable. Quickley has missed the previous three games with a hip pointer suffered during the Knicks loss to Indiana.

First-year coach Tom Thibodeau is letting the Knicks “play hard,” Rivers noted, with wins in their previous two games against Milwaukee and Cleveland. From 2007-10, Thibodeau was a member of Doc Rivers’ staff at Boston.

‘I’ll be honest, even as an individual, I do not come with them, the one thing I know I have to do – shots, maybe I make everything, maybe I miss everything. ‘I’m going to get that feeling and rhythm back when I play these games, but the only thing that has to be consistent is when I’m out there, I have to play hard,’ Austin Rivers said. ‘Because it’s our team being symbolized at the moment. We are one of these teams; there is no outside night when you play the Knicks. This is the attitude we are trying to establish here.

‘I know that mistakes and mistakes can falter, but your effort can not. That’s kind of what Thibs attributed to this team. I’m just going to come in and play hard. ”

The 6-foot-4 Rivers averaged 8.8 points and 1.7 shots while hitting 42.1 percent of his shots (35.6 percent from the three-point distance) over 23.4 minutes in 68 games (four starts) with Houston hit last season.

There were only two other father-son Tests left that appeared in the regular-season games with the Knicks: Ernie and Kiki Vandeweghe, and Henry and Mike Bibby.

Doc Rivers, who coached Austin with the Clippers for four seasons, said earlier this month that he had pushed his son to sign with the Knicks because of the “great experience” he had with the organization.

“I think it’s the whole atmosphere of everything Thibs came up with,” Austin Rivers said. ‘I think it was a difference, because that’s what he’s demanding. There is no other option. You don’t play hard, you don’t play. That’s just what it’s with him. I think everyone gets the picture in our team. And I think everyone knows – if you do not play hard, you will not play.

‘There are only a few teams that have the identity, and that’s what we’re trying to build here. Thibs do a great job and we just follow it. Everyone moves the ball and plays hard and that’s what it’s going to be. ”