Austin Rivers: Wizards, Pacers Are ‘Slept-On,’ Can Compete with Celtics, 76ers

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Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers (1) poses for a photograph during an NBA basketball media day, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Washington Wizards haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 1978-79, but guard Austin Rivers believes they’re overlooked as an Eastern Conference threat.

Rivers told James Herbert of CBSSports.com: 

“I think we’re heavily slept-on. Team’s been to the playoffs, what, the last five, four or five years? Then going into this year, you add me, Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and nobody seems to talk about us. So I just think we’re heavily slept-on, but that’s fine. At the end of the day, nothing really matters until the season starts and we set that tone for ourselves. I get the hype of a couple of the other teams, but I think we have a chance to compete with the best of the East.”

Washington has been to the playoffs in each of the last two years. The team traded for Rivers and signed Howard and Green this offseason.

Rivers also had praise for another Eastern Conference contender, suggesting Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers are a threat to the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers after the Pacers nearly eliminated LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers last postseason.

“Yeah, I would say Indiana’s the other team that gets slept-on, too,” he said. “You look at Indiana, they took Cleveland to seven games and then damn near, arguably could have beaten them.”

The Celtics and 76

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