Doc Rivers Was the Safe, Uninspiring Choice for the Philadelphia 76ers

Ryan Phillips
Oct 1, 2020, 6:28 PM EDT
Doc Rivers, Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five
Doc Rivers, Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five | Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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The Philadelphia 76ers have an agreement with Doc Rivers to become the franchise's next head coach. The move comes after Rivers was dumped by the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week. By quickly pivoting to Rivers, Philadelphia made the safe move, though it might not have been the best decision for the franchise.

Rivers has a long track record of coaching success but he's also repeatedly had high-profile flops. Despite having Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in their primes, his Lob City Clippers never advanced to the Western Conference Finals. This year with the best roster in the NBA, Rivers and the Clippers were upset in the second round by the Denver Nuggets. While he did win an NBA title with the "Big Three" in Boston, Rivers wasn't able to guide that group to another title.

Rivers is well-respected around the NBA and will bring immediate credibility to the Sixers. But while he's been known for his ability to create chemistry and a single purpose for the teams he's coached, that didn't happen this year for the Clippers. Has he lost his touch? It's hard for me to see that as the case, but it's something to be wary of.

The current version of the Sixers is a mess. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have always been an awkward pairing that hasn't produced results that live up to their talent. And the current roster is weighed down by the onerous contracts given to Al Horford and Tobias Harris. Thanks to those deals, the Sixers are way over the projected cap for next season, limiting their ability to improve.

While I think bringing in Mike D'Antoni would have been a terrible idea given Philly's roster limitations, at least that would have shaken things up and could have led to personnel changes. Rivers will likely be expected to fix this version of the Sixers, which has underachieved for years. The roster is broken and the chemistry is terrible. Rivers will be expected to fix both issues immediately.

If the Sixers want to continue with the status quo, Rivers was the right hire. If they wanted to make dramatic changes, they would have gone with an outside-the-box hire. It appears not much will be changing in Philly despite the addition of a new coach.

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