Wizards' Austin Rivers doesn't know why 'everybody's so f---ing gassed up' on Sixers, Celtics

Matt Haughton
NBC Sports Philadelphia

With just a handful of days left until the regular season gets underway, the Sixers are preparing to build on the 2017-18 campaign that saw them win 52 games and claim the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

The team returns its core and will start with a healthy Markelle Fultz. That should be enough to put them in a similar position as last season, if not fighting for the East's top spot, right?

Well, not everyone is convinced.

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Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers told CBS Sports' James Herbert he believes his new team should be in that conversation.

"I think we're heavily slept-on," Rivers said. "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."

And it's not just the Wizards. Rivers also named the Indiana Pacers - with the addition of Tyreke Evans - as a threat to the top dogs.

"That's who they just added to the team? And nobody seems to talk about the Pacers because everybody's so f---ing gassed up on the Celtics and the Sixers," Rivers said. "And rightfully so: they're both talented teams. But Indiana is just as good as both those teams. And I think we're in the same situation."

Despite not mentioning the Toronto Raptors at all, Rivers does have somewhat of a point. The Sixers split the four-game season series with the Wizards last season and were 1-2 in three games against the Pacers.

However, the Wizards took a step back last season with a first-round playoff exit and the Pacers have been eliminated in the opening round three straight seasons.

The Sixers face the Wiz for the first time this season on Nov. 30 at the Wells Fargo Center before a home-and-home series on Jan. 8 and 9. Sixers fans will certainly have some words for Rivers at that time.

But that might not even be Rivers' lowest moment in Philadelphia.

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