A former Duke basketball one-and-done is trumpeting his upcoming advantage.
In the eyes of combo guard Austin Rivers, there seems to be no better place for the NBA to resume play than his hometown of Orlando. Well, Chapel Hill would probably be in a tie or a close second (timeout to remember Duke basketball jersey No. 0 perfectly zeroing in on Dean Dome tear ducts in 2012 just as all zeroes appeared on the clock).
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In typical puffed fashion, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound hyper-competitor who serves a key role off the bench for the Houston Rockets has now basically hailed himself as the king of Walt Disney World courts, where the 2019-20 regular season will begin wrapping up on July 30 and where every playoff game will take place. Talking to media members on Friday, Rivers proclaimed his self-perceived upper hand:
“The NBA is going to Disney World. I mean, think about how crazy that sentence is. We have all the practice courts being laid down at convention centers and Wide World of Sports. By the way, nobody has played in those places more than me. I don’t know a player in the NBA who has scored more points in The Milk House or the Wide World of Sports. I grew up in Orlando, so this is a true homecourt advantage for me, to be completely honest.”
Does one Duke basketball legend have reason to correct Austin Rivers?
Upon coming across River’s declaration, Eric Bossi of Rivals noted that, according to his own personal recollection, the 27-year-old might be mistaken. As the longtime recruiting analyst pointed out in the below tweet, the speculative Disney scoring crown might actually belong to another former Duke basketball player, JJ Redick, who at age 36 will be in Orlando with the 28-36 New Orleans Pelicans:
That unresolved argument aside, the eight-year NBA veteran Rivers, who has been on the floor in 60 games for the 40-24 Rockets (sixth in the Western Conference) and averaged 8.5 points across 23.4 minutes per outing, also explained to reporters the symbolism of the experience that is now only a few weeks away:
“I am excited about going back and playing in the NBA where I grew up dreaming of being in the NBA. That’s kinda cool.”
Houston’s first of eight games to close out the regular season is set for 9 p.m. on July 31 (ESPN) against the 40-27 Dallas Mavericks. And the calendar now shows the first round of the NBA Playoffs to begin on August 18 with the Larry O’Brien Trophy finding a home by Oct. 12 at the latest.
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