Examining the Doc Rivers Hiring

The 76ers replaced Brett Brown on Thursday, signing Doc Rivers to a 5 year deal. Their coaching search included Rivers, Mike D’Antoni, Ty Lue, and Billy Donovan. Was Doc the best option to be the next coach of the 76ers? Let’s take a look.

Correct Choice?

Doc was far and away the best choice available to fill the coaching void. One of the biggest problems with Brown was that he failed to hold players accountable, and this is a strength for Doc. He can do this while still being able to have a good relationship with players. He has coached many NBA legends including Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, and many more, and he played in the NBA from 1984 to 1996. Rivers also has championship experience, as he coached the 2008 Celtics team that made 2 Finals appearances. The problem with Doc is that he isn’t necessarily good at making adjustments in game and in the playoffs. He deserves some blame for the Clippers’ recent choke, but certainly not all of it, as the Clips could not buy a bucket in game 7. I don’t think this will be a problem though, as the main issue with the Sixers is how their roster is constructed, which I’ll be getting to later. As I said previously, Doc was the best coach available. It was worth hiring him without making any front office changes (getting rid of Colangelo’s staff), and he is a massive upgrade even with his drawbacks.

Press Conference Takeaways

The Sixers introduced Doc on Monday to the media, and he answered a lot of questions regarding the team. First off it is safe to say that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are untouchable this offseason. Although Doc revealed that he has a say in roster construction, he had nothing but great things to say about the two, and he mentioned them as an enticing reason to sign right away, as he was prepared to take a break from coaching. When talking about Ben and Joel, Doc said, “They’ve won 65 percent of the games that they’ve played in. It clearly works when they play together. If you’ve watched my teams, I rarely say that a guy is a 1, a 2 — I don’t get lost in the minutiae. I don’t get lost in what position guys play. I look at how many points we score as a team. I don’t care how we score. My teams have always been very good offensively, in the top five overall. And we score points, and we score points in a lot of different ways.” What’s worrisome is that Doc praised how the roster is currently constructed. If he is able to use guys like Al Horford or Tobias Harris correctly then that is fine, but I doubt Al ever fits. We’ll talk Tobias in a bit. I wouldn’t rule out any trades though, as Doc was quick to dodge questions about playing Horford and Embiid together. Second off, Doc isn’t going to force Ben to shoot, but he said that he will get guys to do what it takes to win. He definitely is going to command more respect than Brett, so I can see Simmons finally taking more jumpers, but not a large amount. A final takeaway is something I already touched on, but Doc is going to improve this offense no matter the roster changes. He mentioned wanting to increase the pace, which I am happy about considering the Sixers offense was extremely stagnant last season. He can also unlock Harris if he isn’t traded. In 87 regular season games in LA with the Clippers, Harris averaged 34.6 MPG, 20.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.5 BPG on 59.1 TS% and 42.6% from deep. This is significantly better than his 99 regular season games since with Philly, where he averaged 34.5 MPG, 19.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG on 55.8 TS% and 35.6% from 3. This drop off was mainly due to Tobias being less of a ball handler in Philly. He isn’t great off the ball, and is much more valuable with the ball in his hands, where he’s a better shooter, can get to the rim, and as Doc said, is great in the pick and roll.

Conclusion

Doc Rivers was certainly the best option out there to be the next coach in Philly. He will hold guys accountable for mistakes, he’s great in the locker room, and he will improve the offense, specifically Tobias if he isn’t traded. He is also very excited to be coaching Joel, Ben, Tobias, and he even had high praise for guys like Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Josh Richardson. However, he isn’t going to magically fix the problems with the Sixers, as trades that I’ve previously written about need to be made, Embiid needs to get in shape, and Ben needs to be more comfortable with taking jumpers. Doc Rivers is certainly something to be excited about, but the Sixers still have a lot of work to do.

Buddy Hield to Philly? Is it Realistic? How Would it Help the 76ers?

The 76ers have had reported interest in Buddy Hield for a few months now, and Buddy has also been at odds with Kings management. The Kings famously took forever to give him an extension, and when they finally gave it to him, it was much lower than expected. Kings coach Luke Walton (the NBA’s worst coach in my opinion) benched Hield this season for no apparent reason as well. Hield in my opinion should be the 76ers’ prime trade target along with Chris Paul, and let’s talk about why.

Why the 76ers Should Target Buddy Buckets

Buddy Hield would fill the shooting void left by J.J. Redick, and he would also add much needed shot creating, especially in the clutch. He can be deadly on and off the ball. Over his 4 year career, he is averaging 15.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG while shooting 44.1% from the field, 41.1% from 3 on 6.7 attempts per game, and 86.6% from the line. 78.2% of his 3s in his career have been assisted on, and this is why the fit with Ben Simmons would be perfect. Simmons has led the league in 3 pointers assisted on in multiple seasons. Hield would also be a great fit with Joel Embiid, as he can be a ball handler in multiple lineups. Hield is being paid $23,500,000 on average over the next 4 seasons, and the contract descends in value.

Will the Kings Accept a Sixers Package?

Trade rumors around Hield have been really quiet, and only the Sixers have been connected. An ideal package for the Sixers for Hield would be built around Al Horford, draft picks, and a throw in like Zhaire Smith. However, this seems really thin and young players like Matisse Thybulle or Shake Milton could be put in. Even Josh Richardson could be included. This seems like a terrible move from a Kings standpoint, and it is, but the Kings are historically poor in terms of decision making. They also have been at odds with Hield all season long, and if there are not many suitors, the Kings could easily settle for the Sixers package. Horford is still a veteran mentor who they had interest in last offseason. Young players and picks are also always valuable to a team like the Kings.

Conclusion

As I previously stated in my first article, the Sixers have little to no flexibility in terms of free agency, and their best bet is looking into the trade market. Chris Paul and Buddy Hield are their top options in my opinion. Both would improve their shooting and play in the clutch, and both fit fantastically with the Sixers’ franchise cornerstones. The Sixers are unfortunately going to have to rely on the interests of the Kings, Thunder, and other potential suitors if they want to get these deals done.

Chris Paul to Philly? Why and if it Can Happen

According to Sam Amick, the 76ers are among the teams that have interest in trading for Chris Paul this offseason. The Bucks and Lakers have reported interest as well. If this was a year ago, I would’ve opposed a trade for Chris Paul. However, let’s take a look at why the 76ers should make it happen, and if they’ll be able to.

Why the 76ers Should Target CP3

Chris Paul is coming off his first healthy season since 2015-16, where he made his last All Star appearance before this year as well. In 70 regular season games, he averaged 31.5 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 5 RPG, 6.7 APG, and 1.6 SPG while shooting 48.9% from the field, 36.5% from 3, and 90.7% from the line. He led an OKC team that many thought would be bottom feeders to the playoffs, where they just lost in 7 games to the Rockets. In the playoffs he averaged 37.3 MPG, 21.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 1.6 SPG shooting 49.1% from the field, 37.2% from 3, and 88.5% from the line. He was also the leader in points in the clutch this season, on fantastic efficiency. We saw guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schröder benefit from playing with Cp3. Now imagine the impact he’d have as a mentor on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. They both could learn so much about the game itself from him and it could change their mentalities. Paul also would fit seamlessly with the two Sixers stars. He’d provide an actual option to go to in the clutch, and he’d be lethal in the pick and roll with Joel. Ideally the Sixers would trade Tobias Harris, a young player, and picks to get Paul. It would be sad to see Tobias and Tisse/Milton go, but I think that this trade would put the Sixers back into contention in the East. If Paul declines, his contract is still better than Harris’. Harris has 4 years left on his max deal, while Cp3 has 2 years left including a player option.

Will the Thunder Accept a Sixers Package?

It is unclear how willing the Thunder are to part ways with Paul. It does make a lot of sense tho, as it is unlikely that they make any improvements with Gallinari heading to free agency. Paul is also at his peak trade value, not only did he have an amazing season but he also holds a player option in 2021-22. A Sixers package may make the most sense for Sam Presti. The Lakers and Bucks lack young assets and picks, and the Lakers do not have the salaries to match. Plus, they’ll also be focusing on the impending free agency of Anthony Davis, who’s likely to stay. With that being said, a package of Tobias, Milton/Thybulle, and picks might be the best option for the Thunder. Tobias is much better when he has the ball in his hands, and can be a key player for years to come as OKC isn’t much of a free agent destination. Milton or Thybulle would be fantastic young pieces, imagine perimeter stars trying to score on Dort and Thybulle. And the picks would already build onto their massive stash of draft capital.

Conclusion

A Chris Paul trade is the Sixers’ best option this offseason. It would put them right back into contention and help develop Embiid and Simmons. However, it is unclear how willing both sides would be to get a deal done.

76ers face the Celtics in major series

The Philadelphia 76ers are set to face the Boston Celtics tonight in Game 1 of a best of seven series. The 76ers are entering the series as the sixth seed in the East, versus the Celtics who hold the third seed. This year has been extremely disappointing for a 76ers team that had aspirations of claiming the number one seed, and moving on past the second round for the first time in the Brett Brown era. Yet, this isn’t the case. After sub-optimal performances from basically all 76ers players, especially including major off-season acquisitions Al Horford.

From championship hopes, to hope that you can win one series in the playoffs, clearly shows how flat this team came this year. Of course, entering another battle with the Boston Celtics is going to be hard enough, but the 76ers will also be without star Ben Simmons who suffered an injury during the remainder of the regular-season games. So the team who has been mediocre all season is going to be entering the playoffs without its second player, and you wonder why the fanbase’s mood is down.

This year’s playoffs have a different feel for the 76ers. No, it’s not just because they are in a bubble playing in Orlando, it feels like an end of an era. Brett Brown has been the coach of the 76ers for the past seven years. The team has not made it passed the second round of the playoffs, and have only made the playoffs a total of three years (including this one). Brown’s position was in the hot seat after another let down as the 76ers were knocked out of the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors. Brett Brown was given another chance with the 76ers this season, with some new weapons in Al Horford, and Josh Richardson. The 76ers had a returning big three of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris.

The mood at the beginning of the season was through the roof. Although, as I mentioned injuries, lack of development, inconsistency, and poor play riddled the 76ers this entire year. Since returning to play in Orlando, those issues weren’t resolved. Ben Simmons is injured, Joel Embiid is playing his yearly will-he-or-won’t-he-play, and the rest of the team isn’t able to rise to the next level needed to win playoff series. Brett Brown’s job is on the line, if the 76ers lose in the first round it will almost be automatic, but Brown could once again fight to see another season if the team makes a run. They won’t.

As fans, it would be unfair to bait yourself into believing that this team is going to “do the unthinkable”. Now the next step once the 76ers do the inevitable and fire Brett Brown, they will be faced with the structural change. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The two titans of the game were supposed to bring title(s). Both the brain-children of former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. It’s a decision that is coming for the 76ers. Of course Brett Brown will be the last-ditch to save the idea that the 76ers can work with an injury-prone center and a shotless point guard/power forward. The 76ers will try to do their best Phillies impersonation by changing coaches but not removing the root cause. Although, that’s an article for another day.

In the meantime, the 76ers will try to out-run the Boston Celtics as they can see the sun setting on the hope and future of the team. But, hey the Flyers won yesterday, so…