It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Doc Rivers this offseason. His departure from the Clippers was inevitable after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets in Orlando, but he wasn’t unemployed for long, as the Sixers swept in immediately and made him their new head coach.
Naturally, he’s had to answer a lot of questions about the Clippers’ collapse, particularly the persistent rumors about their locker-room dynamics, but with the new season just around the corner, there are more pressing concerns regarding how he plans to turn the Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons pairing into a legitimate championship duo.
One thing’s for certain, it’s not going to be by suddenly transforming Simmons into a shooter. Simmon’s well-documented struggles to make shots anywhere outside the paint with any sort of consistency have long been a talking point when discussing Philly’s title chances, but Doc is apparently not buying into the hype.
“It think it’s overdone,” he said. “I couldn’t care less about Ben’s shooting. And I’m being honest. I want Ben to be a player. Ben’s a great basketball player. Ben makes plays. Ben has vision that only 5-10 guys in the NBA have. And he has it with size. We won a world championship in Boston with Rajon Rondo, who they quote-unquote said you can’t win with a non-shooting guard on the floor. Well, we didn’t have a problem winning at all that year.”
It’s a salient point, although the NBA hadn’t fully embraced the three-point revolution at that point, and the Celtics had other shooters surrounding Rondo, which is a problem area that the Sixers attempted to address this offseason by bringing in Seth Curry and Danny Green.
Still, Doc has plenty of work ahead to turn a very talented team into true title contenders, not to mention overcome the growing perception about his coaching ability after the disastrous way things ended in Los Angeles this fall.