PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Sixers organization officially introduced Doc Rivers as the new head coach on Monday. The team tweeted pictures of Rivers arriving at his new office in Camden on Monday morning.
Back to business. 💼 pic.twitter.com/eIvfoEs94I
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 5, 2020
Rivers says this Sixers squad is “loaded” with talent and if he didn’t believe the team had a chance to compete immediately for championships, he would have taken the year off.
The 25th coach in Sixers’ history was introduced Monday over Zoom. He says he’s not too concerned with Ben Simmons’ shooting and he thinks Joel Embiid can be dominant.
He admits after being fired by the Los Angeles Clippers a week ago, he wanted to take a break. But then Elton Brand called.
“This is the only job I would have taken and you know as I know there are others, you know. This was a very appealing job. It was appealing because number one it’s the 76ers. There are certain names, Yankees, Celtics, Dodgers, there are certain names that you want to be affiliated with if you can if you get the opportunity,” he said. “The bigger lure obviously was the talent they have and the opportunity they have moving forward. Not just talent, young talent who has already had a chance to win and you want to grow that success into becoming a winner.”
Rivers is one of the premier coaches in the NBA and at the beginning of his tenure with the Clippers he had the final say on roster decisions.
So, how much input will doc have with this roster? He says, a lot while working collaboratively with Elton Brand.
“I don’t think people understand how important it is for the coach and the front office to be on the same team and just have great continuity together. If we can do that, we can be successful here for a really long time,” he said.
Rivers also said he wants to pick up the pace with the Sixers offensively. The scouting report against his new team? He says if you can keep them out of transition, they’re guardable.
A 34-year NBA veteran — 13 as a player, 21 as a coach — Rivers comes to Philly with a lengthy résumé. Rivers has a 943-681 record with 16 playoff appearances and an NBA title with the 2008 Boston Celtics. He began his head coaching career with the Orlando Magic, from 1999 until 2004.
Rivers says he is excited to join the Sixers’ franchise.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said. “This is a city that loves sports and loves their teams. It’s a city that values hard work and that is exactly what we are going to do and who we are going to be. We are ready to do good things in Philadelphia.”
He has coached several star players, including Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Sixers forward Tobias Harris played in 87 games for Rivers before the Clippers traded him to the Sixers in 2018-19.
His biggest challenge with the Sixers will be figuring out how best to use stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and elevating the team back into the conversation of an NBA title contender.
On Thursday, Joel Embiid posted on social media welcoming Rivers to Philadelphia.
“Welcome to the city of Brotherly Love Coach @DocRivers!!!! Excited for the future and what we’re building here #PhillyForever,” Embiid tweeted.
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) October 1, 2020
Rivers replaces Brett Brown as the Sixers’ head coach.
Brown was fired on Aug. 24 after seven seasons with the Sixers. The Sixers had two 50-win seasons and three consecutive early playoff exits under Brown, who was hired as the team began The Process.
The Sixers reportedly also interviewed Tyronn Lue, Mike D’Antoni and Billy Donovan. Donovan was hired by the Chicago Bulls.
CBS3’s Dan Koob and the Associated Press contributed to this report.