While the additions of Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers may (rightfully) hog the headlines, the Sixers also added former Clippers assistant Sam Cassell to the coaching staff. He may not have the same name value as these other two, but Cassell has a chance to make an immediate impact on the current roster.
Sam Cassell – The player
After a 15 year playing career, Sam Cassell began his journey in coaching right away. During his time as a player, Cassell made the All-Star game and All-NBA team once and has 3 championship rings to his name. He played for 8 different teams throughout his career. Cassell was a fairly inconsistent shooter but still managed to impact games on an everyday basis. He put an emphasis on scoring from the mid-range which is a concept that could help the development of Ben Simmons. This usage of the mid-range game is something that has gone out of style in today’s NBA, but Cassell continues to be a firm believer in the usage of this area on the floor.
Sam Cassell – The Coach
After his retirement from playing, Cassell quickly engulfed himself in the coaching world. He is heavily tied to Doc Rivers as he finished his playing career with the Celtics under Doc, and even spent his final 2008-09 season on the active roster despite not playing a game and spending more time in the coaches’ offices throughout the season. After that season he joined the Washington Wizards’ staff where he was credited with greatly helping to develop John Wall.
After 5 seasons with the Wizards, Cassell reunited with Doc Rivers as an assistant coach on the Clippers. From 2014 until now, Cassell has continued growing into his role as an assistant coach. He was a prime candidate for the vacant Clippers head coaching job after Rivers’ departure, but the organization chose to hire Lue and has expressed very high hopes for him. Cassell chose to follow Rivers to Philly as an assistant as he had no real offers to be a head coach (despite a few interviews) from any other teams.
Sam Cassell – The Sixer
Cassell seems well on his way to becoming an NBA head coach but that does not diminish his value to the Sixers. Doc Rivers has already talked about how Cassell has a future as a head coach and he will continue to help his growth. The high basketball IQ and infectious energy that he will bring to the team will undoubtedly make an impact.
The additions of Dave Joerger and Dan Burke are expected to have a major impact on the defensive end however, Cassell’s role will likely be a little different. Largely due to his work with John Wall, Cassell is well respected for his ability to develop guards. There has been frustration with the lack of offensive development with Ben Simmons and along with the excitement surrounding Shake Milton, Cassell could play a large role in the evolution of these two.
So far this offseason, the Sixers have assembled a superstar collection of coaches that rivals any other team in the league. Along with hiring the new president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, the Sixers have absolutely smashed the offseason so far. There is still much work to do with free agency and the draft upcoming, but hopes are high surrounding the 76ers’ future once again.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire