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Doc Rivers agrees to be next head coach of Philadelphia 76ers, per report

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Doc Rivers will be the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Rivers spent the past seven seasons coaching the Los Angeles Clippers, but after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round, he and the team mutually agreed to part ways. Soon after, the 76ers keyed in on Rivers, whom they likely did not expect to be available, as their top coaching choice. The deal was completed in less than a week. 

The 76ers had been coached by Brett Brown for the past seven seasons, but after three straight playoff disappointments, they felt the need to make a change on their staff. While Rivers is coming off of a series in which he was outcoached by Mike Malone of the Denver Nuggets, no coach on the market has a better playoff track record. Rivers won a championship with the 2008 Boston Celtics, and reached the Finals again with them in 2010, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers

Rivers has a reputation for being widely respected by his players, That has been a sore spot for the 76ers. Star center Joel Embiid has been criticized for his conditioning for years, while former No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons has refused to take 3-point shots consistently during games despite Brown’s urging. If any coach can get them on the right track, it would be Rivers. 

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Strategically speaking, Rivers also represents a major divergence from Brown. Philadelphia almost never ran pick-and-roll under Brown, whereas the Clippers used it as one of their primary drivers of offense. That may have been a personnel issue, as Embiid struggles to roll hard to the basket and Philadelphia’s limited shooting cramps its spacing, but Rivers will certainly try to find a workaround to that issue. 

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Despite the youth of their superstars, Philadelphia is very much in win-now mode. Their roster is already in luxury tax territory, they’ve spent most of their draft picks, and given the injury issues both Embiid and Simmons have dealt with, neither of their futures are certainties. The 76ers couldn’t afford to roll the dice on an unproven commodity. Instead, they went for the most accomplished available coach. Rivers, in turn, gets to trade in one win-now roster for another and remain in contention for a championship. On paper, neither side could ask for a better fit. 


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