NBA Executives Applaud 76ers for Hiring Doc Rivers
When the Los Angeles Clippers moved on from Doc Rivers this week, the veteran head coach became the hottest name on the market. After all, he's been coaching in the NBA for 21 seasons and has the second-most amount of wins among active coaches.
The Philadelphia 76ers were ready to hire Brett Brown's replacement this week and planned to choose between former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant, Ty Lue.
Then came Doc. In less than 48 hours, Rivers was on a plane to Philly to meet with Elton Brand, Josh Harris, and David Blitzer. After several crucial discussions and an NBA Finals Game 1 watch party, Rivers was back on a flight home the next day.
By Thursday evening, the Sixers locked Rivers in as the new head coach with a five-year deal. Clearly, the 76ers' organization was excited with the hire -- but how does somebody with no bias in the situation see it?
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently discussed the hiring with multiple anonymous NBA executives. Based on his conversations, Scotto found out that the Sixers' decision to hire Rivers this week deserves praise from other front offices.
“I think he will do a better job with Philly’s culture and with Embid and Simmons. From what I’ve heard, Brett (Brown) allowed Joel and Ben to do whatever they wanted, and it really hurt the culture.”
“I think Doc in Philly is a great fit. I feel like he’ll be able to mesh extremely well with Ben and Joel. Now whether or not they are a great fit with one another in terms of skill set is another question, but I think Doc will do a great job with managing the personalities. He’s an excellent coach and a wonderful human being as well, so I think it will be a very good partnership there.”
“I think what Doc does well is exactly what the Sixers need. He will hold guys accountable and push the best players to be better. Ben and Joel need someone that isn’t afraid to tell them what they need to do. That being said, they still need to change parts of the roster.”
When Elton Brand and the Sixers started their search for the team's next head coach, the plan was to find somebody with experience (preferably with a championship under their belt) and a coach who can earn respect from the locker room and get the best out of their players -- specifically Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Rivers, a well-respected veteran leader is the right guy for the job. Although his past playoff performances are a bit alarming, the Sixers' next hire was going to come with some concerning risk regardless. No candidate is a perfect one -- but Doc Rivers was a safe choice and he could really help the Sixers get the best out of their stars.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_