Coach Doc Rivers Is Headed to Philly
After blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers decided to part ways. But in a shocking turn of events, three days after parting ways with the Clippers, Rivers signed a five year deal to become the Philadelphia 76ers head coach. He was a late entry for consideration, the 76ers front office were strongly pursuing former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.
During his seven years as the Clipper head coach he had a record of 356-208 and a 63.1% winning percentage for their regular season games. For the 2019-2020 season, the Clippers had a 49-23 record, the 4th best record in the NBA. There were high hopes for the Clipper team after they signed Kawhi Leornard fresh off a championship and Paul George. Many thought the Western Conference Finals were going to be the battle of LA but the Denver Nuggets felt differently. In the Western semis, Rivers team gave up leads of 16, 19 and 12. He was the head coach for most of the Clippers best seasons but he went 3-8 in playoff clinching games, tied for the worst mark by a single coach with one team.
Overall, Rivers has 943 career wins, the 11th most by a head coach. He has been the head coach for the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics (won a championship in 2008), and the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to ESPN, each team that has hired Doc as its head coach saw an increase in its winning percentage in his first season.
During an interview at the 76ers practice facility, Rivers was going to use the time off to take a needed break. “I love coaching. I absolutely love it. But I was not going to just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break.. It just depended on the team that was available, and if that team in my opinion was ready to win.” The Chicago native has been on the NBA sidelines for the past 16 years. He also mentioned that three teams reached out to him after news broke of his departure in LA.
In recent years, the 76ers have struggled to make it out the first and second rounds of the playoffs. They have also had problems playing as a team. Joel Embid has been the centerpiece for the team but has had trouble being consistent and playing to his full potential. Ben Simmons has become an All-Star since being drafted by Philly but his biggest issue is mid-range game. Embid and Horford never seem to be on the same page during games especially with Horford being in and out of the starting lineup. Doc Rivers has his work cut out for him but he just maybe the man for the job.