The Philadelphia 76ers have an odd pairing in their two stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Their fit on the court is not ideal and they are, at the very least, indifferent about each other off the court. Now that the Sixers hired Doc Rivers as their new head coach to come in and make it work, pressure will mount on Philly’s famed superstar duo.
On the daily Locked On NBA Podcast, hosts Wes Goldberg (Locked On Warriors) and David Ramil (Locked On Heat) discuss the Sixers hiring of Doc Rivers and why his comments on Embiid and Simmons already have them concerned.
Wes Goldberg: Doc Rivers was introduced as the head coach of the 76ers on Monday and he said, of a mismatched Sixers roster, “I don’t get lost in what position guys play. I look at how many points we score as a team. I don’t care how you score.” Then he added that the duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons “clearly works when they play together.”
Now, this is concerning to me, David, because if you look at Doc’s track record of coaching star duo’s, it’s fair to say that he hasn’t gotten the most out of them. So, for him to say that Embiid and Simmons clearly work when clearly it does not work… It works enough as far as the Sixers won a bunch of games, but that to me has always been the M.O of Doc Rivers. If you’re coaching Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan on the Clippers for a period of time, they won a bunch of games because of the sheer talent that they had. I don’t think anybody is sitting here thinking that he optimized that talent. We were talking about and writing about back then how Blake Griffin should be playing more center and he shouldn’t be so married to giving DeAndre Jordan so many minutes per game and all that. If he were a little more forward-looking and progressive, I think that you could have seen a more modern version of what of maybe like what Blake Griffin is doing with Detroit now as far as shooting threes and doing all those things. Obviously, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George… helped make each other better. It’s just sort of a my-turn-your-turn thing. I do think that some of that has to lie with Doc Rivers too. So I’m not convinced based on his track record, though he does tend to relate to his stars really well and does get enough out of roleplayers, and does seem to just get along with those star players and keep them happy. I’m not convinced that he is going to be able to maximize Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ fit in a creative way,
David Ramil: I will go a step further and say that already day one into this, this has been a disaster for the Sixers. He is not a great fit there.