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Rating the Coaches at Philadelphia 76ers for 2020-21
The Philadelphia 76ers had a disappointing season last year and decided to make crucial changes on pretty much all levels. Darry Morey was acquired in the front office, and he moved some of the big contracts that were holding the organization back.
On top of that, Doc Rivers was appointed as the new head coach and brought many assistants with him. I analyze the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff for the 2020-21 NBA season in this post, sharing more details about the expertise of each member.
Doc Rivers – Loads of Experience and Championship Pedigree
The reputation of Doc Rivers took a big hit after the Clippers failed to live up to the high expectations last season, but the experienced coach remains a household name in the NBA.
After a respectable career as an NBA player, Rivers was appointed as the Orlando Magic head coach in 1999. He’s been part of the league since, leading the Celtics and the Clippers.
Rivers has more than 1600 games in the NBA regular season alone and a .581 win rate. He won the NBA Championship with Boston in 2008 and has led his teams to the playoffs 16 times in 21 seasons, winning plenty of individual accolades in the process.
Many believe that Rivers has fallen behind the latest trends, and that’s why the LA Clippers failed to reach the Western Conference Finals last season. Paul George was also quick to throw him under the bus and point the finger at the head coach in a recent podcast.
Rivers responded that the atmosphere in the locker room was bad, and some of the new players weren’t accepted. I believe that his side of the story certainly has some credibility, and for all of their talent, the Clippers had plenty of problems last season.
Either way, all the scrutiny should work in favor of the Philadelphia 76ers. I’m sure that Doc Rivers is eager to prove his worth and lead the new organization to success.
The franchise needs a simple and easy to execute system that fits the players on the roster after looking lost last season. I believe that Rivers can deliver that with the help of his assistants.
Philadelphia 76ers Coaching Assistants for 2020-21
As you would expect from a new head coach, Doc Rivers changed almost the entire staff and brought his own assistants. Let’s take a look at them.
Many of you probably remember Dave Joerger from his stints as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. He’s a guy with plenty of experience in the D-League as well, which makes him an excellent number two next to Rivers.
Joerger was appointed in November and arrived with the new head coach, alongside most of the assistants.
Sam Cassell’s basketball IQ was obvious during his countless season as an NBA player, so it was hardly a shocker when he stayed in the league as a coach after his retirement. His career started with the Wizards before Doc Rivers brought him to the Clippers.
The duo works well together, and Cassell’s main duties are related to the offensive part of the game. His priority with the 76ers would be to work on Ben Simmons’ shooting, which is a big task.
#sixers star Ben Simmons reportedly said today that he's been working on his mid-range game and corner 3pt shot with new assistant coach Sam Cassell.— The Painted Lines (@ThePaintedLines) December 7, 2020
Is this the year Ben Simmons unlocks this part of his game?!#nba #NBATwitter #Bensimmons #trainingcamp #shooting pic.twitter.com/7KwnLCq82K
And yet, Cassell’s reputation for developing young guards is stellar, and I’m curious to see the results.
One of the biggest surprises in the recruitment process was the appointment of Dan Burke. The coach started his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and then spent more than 20 years with the Indiana Pacers.
I honestly didn’t see him leaving the organization, but the 76ers acquired his services. Burke is an expert in building strong defensive teams, and the curious part is that he criticized Joel Embiid and the 76ers last season.
Unless there’s bad blood as a result of his words to spoil the atmosphere, Burke will work with arguably the most defensively talented rosters in his career, which sounds scary for the opposition.
Popeye Jones is another former Indiana Pacers assistant that joined Doc Rivers in the 2020 offseason. He has been in the league for more than 10 years and specializes in developing forwards. That’s hardly a surprise considering Jones’ 20 years in the NBA as a power forward.
After spending six years in the G-League, Brian Adams is finally getting a shot at the next level. This will be his first job in the NBA, and his 76ers role would be related to player development.
One of the few guys that were already part of the Philadelphia 76ers last season is Eric Hughes. He worked as a player development coach in 2019-20 and was promoted to an assistant for the new NBA campaign.
The last Doc Rivers’ assistant is Todor Pandov, who also serves as the Performance Director of the organization. The Bulgarian is an expert in strength and conditioning, so that’s the guy that will be responsible for the physical performance of the Philadelphia 76ers.
I must admit that I’m extremely impressed by the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff. Doc Rivers has gathered a group of experts that should be able to get the maximum out of his players.
Dan Burke is one of the best in the NBA when it comes to building a strong defense, while the likes of Sam Cassell and Popeye Jones should be able to lift the offense of the organization.
The other members of the staff also have clear roles and the necessary credentials. If you add the 76ers roster improvements, this is one scary team.
If you are going to bet on the championship or other NBA futures, you should certainly consider Philadelphia as one of the franchises that could go all the way.
I also recommend you to check the following posts that explore the coaching staff of other NBA teams.