Austin Rivers claims that unlike other coaches, every player likes to play for Mike D’Antoni
The Houston Rockets have been a successful team since adding head coach Mike D’Antoni in 2016. His offensive schemes worked pretty well with superstar guard James Harden, who have arguably played his best years under the offensive minded coach.
The Rockets have reached the Western Conference Finals in D’Antoni’s second year, but lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Still, D’Antoni has gained the respect of his players, who often says a lot of positive things about him. Even Austin Rivers, who recently signed with Houston, has admitted to Rockets reporters (h/t ESPN 975‘s Salman Ali) that he loves playing for MDA.
Austin Rivers: “As much as you hear about how much freedom Mike (D’Antoni) gives…you don’t really understand it to you’re here playing for them just how much fun this team has on the floor…. It’s a great environment that Daryl (Morey) and coach (D’Antoni) have created.”
Rivers (continued): “I’ve never heard one player complain about playing for them. Every coach has somebody who doesn’t like him. Everybody likes to play for him (D’Antoni). He lets guys go…. It’s a fun place to play.”
Rivers, who has had a rough start to his season after a fallout with the Los Angeles Clippers and an uninspiring sting with the Washington Wizards seemed to have settled down with the Rockets and is one of the players that provide them scoring off the bench. He also serves as one of the main backup to Harden and Chris Paul.
After averaging just 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game with the Wizards, Rivers’ production increased since joining the Rockets. In his nine games with the team, he’s put up 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.