Philadelphia 76ers

Doc Rivers emerges as a surprise head coaching candidate for Sixers

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According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, yet another high profile name has joined the NBA coaching carousel. After a disastrous series loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers have officially parted ways with future Hall of Famer Doc Rivers

Despite boasting arguably the most stacked roster in all of basketball this season, headlined by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers were unable to advance past the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The team jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead over a scrappy Denver squad but were unable to close it out, allowing the Nuggets to claw all the way back and steal the series.

What made matters even worse is just how easy the Los Angeles Lakers made things look against the Nuggets in the following round. The Clippers organization made a big deal of “taking over” LA this season, and yet they still ended up looking like the little brother of the duo.

The Clippers just recently inked Rivers to a massive $35 million extension, so this firing came as a bit of a surprise. Regardless, he now joins the coaching market as the most qualified candidate.


When it comes to the Sixers, this firing really has two effects. For starters, one would assume the team at least considers Doc Rivers as a viable candidate. Rivers has a long history of success coaching in the NBA, and even with his recent playoff failures, he would provide an instant boost to an otherwise directionless Sixers franchise.

On the other hand, this might remove Tyronn Lue from the Sixers crosshairs. Lue has long been reported as Philadelphia’s preferred candidate, but with an opening now appearing out in Los Angeles, Lue might simply prefer to stay with the Clippers as the team’s newest head coach. This could cause a ripple effect of sorts, leaving the Sixers with Mike D’Antoni as their next lead voice.


On face value, simply handing Rivers a blank check seems like the easy call for the Sixers to make. However, on second thought it might not be the wisest move for Philadelphia to pursue. While Doc Rivers is undoubtedly a very good head coach, he hasn’t appeared in an NBA finals since 2010, and he just blew a 3-1 series lead with the deepest roster in the league.

Is he a better schematically than someone like Brett Brown? Sure. Is he such an easy and clear option that Philly should be jumping to hand him tens of millions of dollars? Probably not.

Rivers oversaw the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin Clippers for years, and was never able to take that team over the hump. When handed two legit superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, he still fell short to an overall pretty “meh” Denver Nuggets squad. The Sixers have an extremely flawed roster at the moment, and the potential of them getting it anywhere near as close to as talented as the Clippers is slim to none.

With promises of a completely revamped squad under D’Antoni, and Joel Embiid reportedly excited about the potential of working with the former Houston Rockets head coach, that route might make more sense in the grand scheme of things.

Regardless, expect the noise surrounding a hypothetical Rivers-Sixers partnership to be quite intense over the next couple of days.

Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

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David is a 20 year old college student at the University of Maryland. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan who started covering the teams back in late May of 2019. After just a few months of writing for fun on a personal blog, he now reports on the 76ers for PhillySportsNetwork.com and the Phillies for Fansided.com.

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