One of the key positions the Sixers had to address in free agency this past offseason was the backup power forward spot. Since the 76ers struggled at the position when Tobias Harris was off the floor, they needed to find a player that could bring in some quality minutes -- specifically a reliable stretch four.
Last year, the Sixers' new front office and coaching regime revealed they have a collaborative workspace when it comes to making personnel decisions. And after the 76ers landed former Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang in free agency, it's become clear that Doc Rivers is a primary reason why.
"Anybody that's been through it knows free agency is kind of crazy," Niang said this week. "So, to have a head coach call you and express interest and tell you how he's going to use you and the things that he likes about your game and how they fit into his plan, going forward like I said before, that was the swinger in me wanting to be here. Just simply because that's the guy that's taken me in."
For years, Rivers has established himself as one of the NBA's most popular coaches. Ever since he carved out a solid playing career for himself in the 80s and the 90s, Rivers revamped his basketball life as a head coach. And having that playing experience, Rivers knows what to say to his players to get the best out of them or make them feel comfortable.
To Niang, it was Rivers' vision that convinced him to join the Sixers to become the primary backup to Tobias Harris.
"He had a vision for me, and it aligns with how I thought I fit in," Niang explained. "He wants to win right away, and so do I. I want to be in a good culture, and that's what he's building here, and obviously, when I got off the phone, I was really excited because I felt like before I even had made the decision, I had a home here in Philly."
For the last two seasons with the Utah Jazz, Niang averaged 15 minutes on the court. He averaged roughly six points per game while shooting 44-percent from the field and 41-percent from three.
This year with the Sixers, he'll likely see his playing time increase. And so far in training camp, Niang has garnered notable praise from his head coach and teammates as he's already making a solid impression on his new team.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.