The Philadelphia 76ers have hired a new head coach. Glenn “Doc” Rivers is now the head man on the Sixers bench.
Rivers was heavily courted by the Sixers brass, who are said to have pivoted from Mike D’Antoni the moment it was announced Rivers was fired by the Clippers. Elton Brand is said to have led the charge.
Doc Rivers has coached 1,624 career games. With a 943-681 career coaching record and a championship under his belt, Rivers certainly checks off the experience box for the Sixers. On a team with 2 high maintenance all stars, Rivers will command respect and he brings a level of professionalism at the head coach position that the Sixers have lacked. Rivers is a true leader.
Under Rivers, expect the Sixers to compete and compete hard. An example of this can be seen in the 2019 Clippers, in which Rivers’ 8th seeded Clippers team took the Kevin Durant-Steph Curry led Warriors to 6 games behind stellar performances from Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Rivers is widely respected around the league for getting the most out of his players. The Sixers will be no different. Rivers fits well with the Sixers two stars, as he has experience coaching a slower more post oriented offense (Celtics) or a fast paced transition oriented offense (Lob City Clippers). The fit with Embiid and/or Simmons is there.
Another plus Rivers brings is his selection of assistant coaches. Tom Thibodeau, Ty Lue, Mike Woodson, Sam Cassell, Jay Larranaga and Alvin Gentry are a few of the high profile assistants Rivers has had on his staffs. Gentry has been reported to be in negotiations with the Sixers on an assistant coaching job in addition to Rivers deal.
Detractors bring up the 3-1 lead aspect and it is a concern, undoubtedly. However, every team is different and every situation is different. At the end of the day, the 3-1 collapses is something that Rivers has gone through in almost every stop. It’s a real thing. The best hope is that Rivers can learn from his past and the fact that he’s coaching two young stars (and maybe the best player from a potential/talent standpoint he’s ever coached in Embiid specifically), will help him escape those demons.
Rivers was hired because of his ability to pull productivity out of his players. This was specifically seen in Tobias Harris, when he played for Rivers from 2017-2018. Under Rivers, Harris points per game, 3 point FG percentage, and usage rates increased. The reason Harris even received a max contract was because of what he displayed under Rivers during his time in Los Angeles. Make no mistake about it, Rivers players will produce.
Ultimately, Rivers brings championship winning experience, ability to pull talent out of his players and a voice that will not only inspire but command respect as well and bring professionalism to an organization that desperately needs it.