Austin Rivers reveals what led to Lob City Clippers’ demise
Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has been getting as bored as the rest of us during the NBA’s coronavirus hiatus. The former LA Clippers guard has been going on Instagram Live over the last week to talk with some friends and fans while treating fans to some sort of NBA-related content.
Earlier this week, Rivers was joined by jewelry designer and huge car collector Ben Baller to talk cars, the Rockets, and even a little of the Clippers.
Rivers played four seasons with the Clippers under head coach and father Doc Rivers from 2014-2018 after coming coming over in a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. Those four seasons involved a lot of winning as a team, but it came at a cost on a personal level for the young Rivers.
“That shit was so hard,” Austin Rivers said. “At that level, the scrutiny that I had to go through playing for this man and like the magnifying glass I was under… It, bro, it just took joy away from the game. And I love my pops, but that shit was crazy.”
Rivers was traded from the Clippers to the Wizards in the summer of 2018, when the team drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson with the 12th and 13th overall picks in the NBA Draft, respectively. With that, the father-son coach-player duo was no more, and the 26-year old was ready to move on.
“I wasn’t [upset],” Rivers added about leaving Los Angeles. “I wasn’t. It was time. It had nothing to do with LA or the team. That situation was amazing, but it reached its ceiling and you just move on bro. They were ready to go in a different direction.
“They traded Blake [Griffin], they didn’t re-sign JJ [Redick], they traded Chris [Paul], they didn’t re-sign DeAndre [Jordan], they got rid of me. The whole team, that whole ‘Lob City’ team. And I wasn’t a part of the original ‘Lob City,’ so I don’t want to claim I was. But I was a part of that team for four years, and we had runs where we could’ve went to the Finals, but we lost, and it ran its course. Guys went their other ways and for the most part, everybody’s done pretty well. I’ve done well here in Houston. I’ve found a home, D.C. didn’t work out obviously, but Houston’s done well. Blake’s obviously been hurt. DJ’s found a home in Brooklyn again, JJ… you know JJ, shooting it everywhere. I hope Jamal Crawford gets back in the league.”
“CP3 Lowkey killing it in OKC,” Ben Baller interjected.
“Not Lowkey,” Rivers responded. “Highkey! He’s an All-Star. But he’s a legend though. For people to count Chris Paul out. He’s a top 5 point guard all time. That’s Chris. Chris is one of the best players I’ve ever seen play. I’m not even cappin’ right now. Like, he’s unbelievable.”
Despite rumors of a rift between the two players, Rivers briefly re-joined Chris Paul in pursuit of an NBA Championship with the Rockets.
“That’s my man, bro,” Rivers shrugged off any notion of bad blood between the two. “That’s my guy. CP3’s my guy. All that shit was fake.”
It’s crazy to think about all the runs the ‘Lob City’ Clippers had without even making a Western Conference Finals appearance.
Despite the lack of playoff success, those Cippers teams started an era of winning basketball in Los Angeles. Five straight seasons with over 50 wins and nine consecutive winning seasons has made the Clippers one of the best teams of the decade. Once the coronavirus hiatus is over, the franchise hopes to start the new decade off with their first NBA Championship.