The Sixers pounced. Doc Rivers didn’t keep within the free-agent pool for lengthy. He discovered a brand new gig after getting the boot from the Los Angeles Clippers a number of days in the past.
The 58-year-old bench boss will now be in control of dealing with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the remainder of the Philadelphia 76ers after accepting the job on Thursday.
Rivers definitely leapfrogged the supposed pecking order of coaches who have been in line for the job, snatching the place from Tyronn Lue and Ime Udoka.
Whereas his management credentials are as soon as once more in query after one other early playoff exit, there’s little doubt that the one-time NBA champion coach continues to be one of the vital skilled tacticians within the recreation as we speak.
Listed below are three daring predictions of how Rivers’ first season in Philly will pan out.
Doc Rivers will lead Sixers to a top-four end within the East
Doc Rivers’ identify has been slandered left and proper following his lack of ability to guide championship-caliber Clipper groups to the title in recent times. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that he does possess the teaching method to win a variety of regular-season video games.
Beneath Brett Brown final yr, the Sixers significantly underwhelmed and solely completed sixth within the East with a 43-30 slate. This put their already compromised line-up in a large drawback in opposition to the powerhouse third-seeded Celtics squad, resulting in their humiliating four-game sweep defeat within the first spherical of the playoffs. Philly underachived primarily because of their putrid report on the street within the 2019-20 marketing campaign. This gained’t issue as a lot subsequent season, if the league will as soon as once more elect to carry a whole marketing campaign in a bubble setting.
The Sixers does have a pleasant group of expertise of their present roster, however their strengths have been simply not maximized sufficient by Brown and his workers. Rivers, in fact, has dealt with a variety of celebrity gamers up to now. He definitely has the chops to place Embiid and Simmons within the place to actually be elite gamers on this league. Rivers has additionally been identified to adapt fairly properly to the newest traits within the NBA, one thing that was missing with Brown who was reportedly closely set on his previous methods.
An influence battle is about to happen within the East subsequent season, and Doc Rivers and the Sixers could very properly shock a variety of groups.
Doc Rivers will play a giant function in transforming the Sixers’ roster
The Sixers do have two younger All-Stars in fold, however in some way managed to encompass them with gamers who don’t essentially match their system.
Signing Al Horford was a giant query mark, contemplating Embiid already just about dominated the shaded lane. As anticipated, Philly struggled with Embiid and Horford sharing the ground on the identical time.
The 76ers additionally prioritized giving Tobias Harris the massive bucks final summer season earlier than attempting to lure again Jimmy Butler with an extension. Butler took his skills to South Seaside and led the Warmth all the best way to Finals this season.
Doc Rivers, in the meantime, does have some information by way of selecting up the correct gamers who will gel on the ground collectively. He as soon as served the twin function of head coach/president of basketball operations for the Clippers, so he is aware of his method round developing a profitable group.
Plus, Doc already established rapport with lots of people across the league all through his 21-year teaching profession. It’s possible that a few of his former gamers would nonetheless like to play for Doc, and might be a giant issue of their resolution to play within the Metropolis of Brotherly Love.
Doc will lose one other 3-1 playoff lead sooner or later
This may occasionally not essentially occur subsequent yr, however one thing tells me that historical past will repeat itself sooner or later. By this time, we will’t simply blame Doc’s shortcomings to simply sheer unhealthy luck. There’s actually an alarming development of Rivers’ groups blowing commanding playoff leads over time.
Doc Rivers has coached SIX groups which have blown 3-1 or 3-2 collection leads:
2020 Spherical 2 vs Nuggets, 3-1 lead
2015 Spherical 2 vs Rockets, 3-1 lead
2012 East Finals vs Warmth, 3-2 lead
2010 NBA Finals vs Lakers, 3-2 lead
2009 Spherical 2 vs Magic, 3-2 lead
2003 Spherical 1 vs Pistons, 3-1 lead
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) September 16, 2020
One article even hilariously identified that Rivers misplaced 3-1 leads throughout the Bush, Obama and Trump’s political administrations. Heck, even the nice Phil Jackson as soon as dissed Rivers’ teaching credentials throughout Recreation 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
There’s little doubt that Rivers can lead the Sixers to a greater report subsequent season and the next playoff seed. However will he have the ability to truly stop playoff collapses and lead the Sixers again to the NBA Finals? Now that’s an entire completely different story.