Doc Rivers has been the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers for less than a week, and already he is being described as a “disaster.”
How does one fail as a team’s new head coach without a single game having been played? By botching the introductory press conference.
During this week’s media address, Rivers attempted to indicate confidence in the much-maligned Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid duo that some people think cannot work together.
“They’ve won 65 percent of the games that they’ve played in,” he said.
“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 often
“We’ve got Ben that scores points, we have Joel, we have Tobias (Harris), we have Shake (Milton), we have Josh (Richardson). This team’s loaded with talent and we’ve just got to figure out how to make it work the best. But just looking at the numbers, when those two play together they win 65 percent of the games that they play in. That’s a good thing.”
That didn’t sit well with some observers.
During a recent “Locked on NBA” podcast, Wes Goldberg and David Ramil went off.
“This is concerning to me, David, because if you look at Doc’s track record of coaching star duo’s, it’s fair to say that he hasn’t gotten the most out of them,” Goldberg began.
“So, for him to say that Embiid and Simmons clearly work when clearly it does not work… It works enough as far as the Sixers won a bunch of games, but that to me has always been the M.O of Doc Rivers.
Doc Rivers always keeps it real. https://t.co/HHS8yccMYb
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 5, 2020
“If you’re coaching Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan on the Clippers for a period of time, they won a bunch of games because of the sheer talent that they had. I don’t think anybody is sitting here thinking that he optimized that talent. We were talking about and writing about back then how Blake Griffin should be playing more center and he shouldn’t be so married to giving DeAndre Jordan so many minutes per game and all that,” he continued.
“If he were a little more forward-looking and progressive, I think that you could have seen a more modern version of what of maybe like what Blake Griffin is doing with Detroit now as far as shooting threes and doing all those things. Obviously, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George… helped make each other better.
Things are getting interesting. https://t.co/I2Cl16w2bh
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 6, 2020
“It’s just sort of a my-turn-your-turn thing. I do think that some of that has to lie with Doc Rivers too. So I’m not convinced based on his track record, though he does tend to relate to his stars really well and does get enough out of roleplayers, and does seem to just get along with those star players and keep them happy.
“I’m not convinced that he is going to be able to maximize Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ fit in a creative way.”
Ramil echoed that sentiment.
“I will go a step further and say that already day one into this, this has been a disaster for the Sixers. He is not a great fit there,” he added.
Safe to say, this probably isn’t the start that the Sixers or Rivers were hoping for when they agreed to terms on a five-year deal.
Will this partnership ultimately work out? Time will tell. But there are objectively already plenty of reasons to be worried.