Sixers have issues to solve heading into next NBA season

The Sixers’ story remains the same right now as it did heading into last season: a talented roster with flawed chemistry and some work to do should they aim to advance far in the playoffs. Here’s the Philly Voice:

While Doc Rivers brings credibility to the coach’s chair and front office changes should help out a beleaguered front office, they still have the same fundamental problems that caused them to unravel last season. The Al Horford problem is still waiting to be solved, and while Tobias Harris played his best basketball under Rivers in L.A., he did so in an ecosystem where he was the focal point, surrounded by excellent spacing he’ll likely never see here.

Another critical factor — the further we get into the careers of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the less likely it seems either player is poised for a leap from talented All-Star to a title-winning leader. Embiid regressed on several fronts last season, openly unhappy with how the team had changed around him, and while Simmons’ defensive progress is hard to argue, his offensive shortcomings continue to hang over the team, with no significant change in sight.

New head coach Rivers has some compelling challenges ahead of him.

Sixers will reportedly add Dave Joerger to their coaching staff

NBA coaching news is coming out fast and furious today. Here’s Philly Voice with some Sixers news:

Dave Joerger will join Doc Rivers’ staff as an assistant coach for the Sixers, a team source confirmed on Thursday afternoon. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news.

At 46, Joerger already has an abundance of coaching experience under his belt. Fresh out of college, he took a GM job with the Dakota Wizards that eventually led to a prolific minor league basketball run. Joerger won five championships in the minor leagues and had 18 different players called up to the NBA during a four year stretch from 2003-2007.

Rivers has a big job ahead of him, in trying to maximize the Sixers’ talent. Seeing which assistants he adds is of interest. The Sixers are one of the only playoff teams in the league that on the one hand certainly look like they should be a playoff team again in 2020-21, but on the other can definitely use some changes, either in the form of roster moves or coaching decisions that shake up the current structure.

Should the Sixers pursue shooting guard Buddy Hield?

Should the Sixers chase shooting guard Buddy Hield? The idea is just an idea and not a real rumor just yet, as far as we know. But a fan is asking the question to the Philly Voice. The response:

Buddy Hield’s name is going to come up a lot this offseason and for good reason. But I would agree people have been a little overzealous talking about him like he would be the Sixers’ version of Klay Thompson or something.

Let’s start with the positives. Though he fell out of favor with Kings coach Luke Walton last season, there is almost zero doubt Hield’s shooting would translate to any team he plays for. Hield knocked down 39.4 percent of his threes on almost 10 attempts per game, a number that rises to 41.3 percent when you focus strictly on catch-and-shoot threes. On the Sixers, Hield wouldn’t need to do much, if any self-creation, and Doc Rivers has a history of making the most out of guys who can shoot on the move like Hield can.

For the amount of money he’s going to be making — and Hield’s $94 million extension doesn’t kick in until next season — you would just hope Hield could offer something more than shooting prowess. I would agree that he’s not very good defensively despite having the size to be at least average, and he’s not offering you much creation for himself or others.

A big question regarding the Sixers is how they’ll be using Ben Simmons going forward. Should he continue at point guard, where he has a big size advantage, but while lacking an ability to stretch the defense due to his limited shooting range? Or should they make him a point-forward, and stick another shooter in the backcourt?

The answer to this question will help determine who the Sixers should go after in trade or the free agent market this offseason.

Philadelphia 76ers name Doc Rivers head coach

Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand announced today that the team has hired Doc Rivers as its head coach.

Rivers will serve as the 25th head coach in franchise history, after a seven-season run as the head coach of the L.A. Clippers. Prior to being named the head coach in Los Angeles, Rivers spent nine seasons with Boston, where he led the Celtics to an NBA title in his fourth season. His 91 career postseason victories are the second-most among active NBA coaches and rank seventh all-time in NBA history.

In his seven seasons with the Clippers, Rivers led the franchise to the fifth-best record in the NBA (564-356, .631), reaching the playoffs six times. Rivers’ Clippers earned 50-plus wins in four straight seasons from 2013-17, including a franchise-record 57 victories in 2013-14, when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin each earned All-NBA honors.

“We are thrilled to welcome Doc Rivers to Philadelphia as the new head coach of the 76ers. Doc is one of the most respected and accomplished head coaches in the NBA,” Brand said. “I believe Doc can help us unlock our full potential on the floor and further our pursuit of an NBA championship. I also respect and appreciate that his impact extends far beyond the basketball court as he truly embraces the platform he has to drive positive change in society. Doc is a great fit for our team and city, and I’m excited for what the future holds with him as our head coach.”

In 21 seasons as an NBA head coach with the Clippers, Boston and Orlando, Rivers holds a 943-681 (.581) career record. His 943 wins are the second-most among active NBA coaches, while ranking 11th all-time in league history. Rivers’ teams have qualified for the postseason in 16 of his 21 seasons.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said. “This is a city that loves sports and loves their teams. It’s a city that values hard work and that is exactly what we are going to do and who we are going to be. We are ready to do good things in Philadelphia.”

In Boston, Rivers amassed a 416-305 (.577) record over nine seasons, including consecutive 60-win campaigns from 2007-09. Rivers led the Celtics to a 59-47 (.557) overall playoff record during his tenure, reaching the 2010 NBA Finals, in addition to defeating the Lakers in the 2008 Finals. Prior to Boston, Rivers spent four-plus seasons with Orlando, earning NBA Coach of the Year honors in his first season as an NBA head coach. He’d go on to lead the Magic to three consecutive postseason appearances from 2000-03.

Prior to coaching, Rivers was selected by Atlanta with the No. 31 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, following a standout career at Marquette. A one-time All-Star, Rivers appeared in 864 games (605 starts) over 13 NBA seasons with San Antonio, New York, the Clippers and Atlanta, tallying 10.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 27.3 minutes per game. As a player, Rivers’ teams made the playoffs in 10 of his 13 seasons, as he appeared in 81 career postseason contests, notching 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Rivers remains Atlanta’s all-time leader in assists, with 3,866 for his Hawks career, over 100 more than the next-closest player.

Internationally, Rivers represented the U.S. at the 1982 FIBA World Championship, leading his country to a silver medal, and earning tournament MVP honors after averaging a team-best 18.6 points per game. Over his three-year collegiate career, the Chicago-area native posted 13.9 points, 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals. His No. 31 was retired by the Golden Eagles on Feb. 14, 2004.

Sixers and Kings reportedly interested in coach Alvin Gentry as an assistant

There’s movement in NBA coaching ranks these days. The Sixers have reportedly agreed to make Doc Rivers their new head coach. Here’s the Sacramento Bee on jobs one former head coach may be offered:

The Kings are reportedly considering former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry for a top job on Luke Walton’s coaching staff.

A source told The Philadelphia Enquirer’s Keith Pompey the Philadelphia 76ers are seriously considering hiring Gentry as an assistant to new head coach Doc Rivers. The same source revealed Gentry is also in the running to become associate head coach of the Kings.

The most interesting head coaching news in recent weeks might be former NBA star point guard Steve Nash getting the Nets’ head coaching job. Brooklyn’s roster is loaded with talent, and watching how Nash manages the rotation and what sort of schemes he comes up with will be loads of fun.

Doc Rivers reportedly lands new head coaching job with 76ers

Former Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was without a job for just a handful of days. He’s reportedly set to take that same job over in Philly for the 76ers. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Former Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who unexpectedly parted ways with the Clippers earlier this week, has accepted a job to coach the Philadelphia 76ers, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Rivers rapidly became a favorite of Philadelphia after unexpectedly entering the pool of candidates looking for work. He’ll be reunited with Tobias Harris while inheriting Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Philadelphia fired coach Brett Brown, who shepherded the team through “The Process” years but who was also unable to have postseason success. The 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Boston.

For Rivers, it’ll be the fourth team he’s coached since taking over the Orlando Magic in 1999. He’s not had a season off since.

The Sixers are in a tricky situation. Their roster remains a complicated chemistry experiment. All key players on the squad are signed at least through next season, so the core remains Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. There’s big talent in that group of names, but there are also big contracts, especially those of Harris and 34-year-old Horford. Trading either of those two players will be tough, but that’s what may have to happen. If it doesn’t, keep an eye on lineups Rivers uses, because they may not be what is expected.

Mike D’Antoni may be frontrunner for Sixers head coaching job

The Sixers have a talent-filled but chemistry-challenged roster that is in need of a new head coach after they recently parted ways with Brett Brown. Here’s Philly Voice with a look at one of the top candidates: Mike D’Antoni, who recently became a coaching free agent after his contract with the Rockets ran out.

Strengths: His most recent stint as the head coach of the Houston Rockets was another huge success in a revolutionary offensive career, with D’Antoni’s Rockets owning the highest regular-season win percentage (.682) of any team in the Western Conference over the last four seasons. D’Antoni’s arrival ushered in a run of super-powered offenses in Houston, who were scoring healthily before he arrived but took things to another level with D’Antoni. His track record of super-charging players on offense is terrific, and would fill a need for a Sixers team in need of a jolt.

Weaknesses: D’Antoni has had trouble when he has been asked to adapt to personnel that doesn’t fit cleanly into his idea of how basketball should be played. The 2012-13 Lakers, for example, were a disaster of comical proportions. His Knicks tenure, save for a brief renaissance when Amare Stoudemire first signed there, was a complete disaster. D’Antoni and Joel Embiid seem like oil and water, and Ben Simmons only seems to be a fit if he’s unleashed as a downhill rim-running threat, which is not really possible with this roster.

The latest intel: The rumors have been coming fast and furious on D’Antoni, who appears (at least at this moment) to be the frontrunner.

Should Mike D’Antoni get Sixers coaching job?

Mike D’Antoni has reportedly notified the Houston Rockets that he won’t be returning to the squad next season. His contract was up. The Sixers recently parted ways with head coach Brett Brown. Could D’Antoni be a fit? Here’s Philly Voice with some of the reasons why it could work:

If you want somebody to come to Philadelphia and run more pick-and-roll, look no further. D’Antoni’s spread pick-and-roll offense has coaxed the best out of both his ballhandlers and his big men, with rim-running threats like Amare Stoudemire and Clint Capela blossoming under his watch.

Joel Embiid doesn’t seem to fit the mold of that sort of player, but perhaps D’Antoni’s arrival would signal a change of emphasis for Embiid, who could do with a steadier diet of rim runs (and an improvement to his actual diet). Ben Simmons, however, feels like a natural fit as the athletic, downhill forward who can put pressure on the rim to create gaps for ballhandlers. D’Antoni is one of the game’s best stewards of positionless basketball, and Simmons would give him a terrific building block for all sorts of lineup experimentation.

Though D’Antoni has not had the strongest defensive reputation throughout his career — okay, that’s an understatement — the Sixers should be able to play high-level defense in almost any system with Embiid and Simmons as the building blocks. What they need is someone who can make their lives easier on offense, and extract more offensive value out of a jumbled collection of role players, easing the scoring burden on two guys still developing their games.

The Sixers are built around Embiid, Simmons, Tobias Harris and Al Horford. A somewhat confusing mix of players. The team’s offense is what does need the biggest help, as the Sixers were higher-rated on the defensive side of the floor this past season.

It’ll take a clever coach to help these guys take things to the next level. As well as some GM work on the roster, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Allen Iverson’s emotional Instagram post on John Thompson

Legendary former Georgetown Hoyas coach John Thompson has passed away. Here’s Philly Voice reporting on Allen Iverson’s reaction to the tragic news:

Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson died Sunday night at 78 years old, prompting an outpouring of tributes Monday morning.

Among them was a message from NBA Hall of Famer and Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson, who played under Thompson for two seasons from 1994-1996. Iverson became the Big East Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Hoyas to an Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament during his sophomore season.

But it went beyond basketball for Iverson, who credits Thompson for saving his life when he was jailed in connection with a 1993 brawl in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. Thompson defied critics by standing behind Iverson, whose conviction was later overturned due to insufficient evidence.

Iverson’s post:

Sixers reportedly fire coach Brett Brown

The Philadelphia 76ers just finished being swept out of the playoffs, and their first move appears to be a coaching change.

According to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have fired head coach Brett Brown. This after the team was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in a 4-0 sweep in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs.

The news does not come as a surprise, as the team has struggled to maximize their potential and chemistry all season.

The Sixers were without star guard Ben Simmons in their series against the Celtics. But Boston was without forward Gordon Hayward. And although Simmons is more important to the Sixers than Hayward is to the Celtics, the team simply did not look good. And now, Brown is gone.

Questions certainly need to be asked about the team’s roster. And various roster moves in the past few seasons.

It won’t be a surprise if more big moves are made in Philly, either with big-name players being moved in free agency or additional changes in the front office. At this point, anything is possible.