Just days after his seven-year stint with the Clippers came to an abrupt end, Doc Rivers is headed to Philadelphia. He will become the next head coach of the 76ers. The deal is for five years, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Rivers will replace Brett Brown, who previously held the position since 2013.
The 76ers mark the fourth team that Rivers has coached. He spent time with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics before taking over the Clippers job in 2013.
Best known for winning the 2000 Coach of the Year Award with the Magic, Rivers is a highly-touted coach. He also won the 2008 NBA Championship with the Celtics. He’s the 11th winningest coach in NBA history and is just 57 wins away from 1,000.
However, several blemishes throughout his coaching career overshadow Rivers’ achievements. He’s blown three 3-1 leads in the playoffs (he’s the only coach to do so multiple times. The most recent coming at the hands of a far less talented Denver Nuggets team a few weeks ago. He’s made the playoffs an impressive 16 of 20 seasons but has only made three conference finals appearances.
But perhaps a fresh start is all Rivers needs. He’s taking over a dysfunctional — yet talented — 76ers team that’s desperately lacking veteran leadership and experience. Rivers is a renowned ‘players’ coach’ that caters perfectly to the high-profile star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The 76ers recent history hasn’t been too kind to them either. They missed out on a potential trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019 after Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning buzzer-beater. In the 2020 playoffs, the Celtics swept the 76ers in the first round of the postseason.
Embiid and Simmons are talented but haven’t shown any signs of developing much-needed chemistry. Expectations were high when Tobias Harris and Al Horford joined the team. However, that didn’t pan out. Even worse, Harris and Horford are each under horrible contracts.
Rivers will have plenty of work to do in what could be a bounce-back stint with the Sixers.