The Philadelphia 76ers officially introduced new head coach Doc Rivers on Monday, and the former Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers head honcho wasted little time in mentioning the importance of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to the team's future.
"[Embiid and Simmons] won 65 percent of their games together..." he told reporters during the press conference. "If you watch my teams, I don't get lost in what positions guys play. My teams have always been very good offensively, top-five overall, and we score points."
"I love the pieces here..." he added. "This team is loaded."
In relation to Simmons, Rivers was asked about how to get him to shoot jump shots, but the head coach said he's "not concerned with that."
"I’m concerned with what it takes to win," Rivers said. "If that’s what it takes, we’ll figure it out...Ben has proven he is a guy that can create scoring."
He did note that winning requires sacrifice, however.
"You never stop growing. If we're going to win, you have to do something different," he said. "Every single player will have to give up something."
"I'm going to need them to buy in, buy in together as a group, and more of a typical introduction," he added, saying he's already reached out to the team's players.
Serena Winters @SerenaWinters
Doc Rivers: “I think you have to be who you are...I think the mistake a lot of teams made, is that everyone wanted to be Golden State, but noone could shoot like Golden State, so to me, everyone made a mistake. You have to be the best version of you & not apologize for that." https://t.co/8eOTQ4eTkP
Another factor to monitor will be the load management of players like Embiid, who has a history of battling injuries:
Rivers said it was the team's young stars that attracted him to the job, and that he was considering a break from coaching before the Sixers called:
It wasn't just Embiid and Simmons who appealed to Rivers, however, as he also expressed excitement about working with Tobias Harris again. The two were paired on the Clippers prior to Harris' trade to Philadelphia in the 2018-19 season.
"I loved him. I loved coaching him," Rivers told reporters. "I like that he's a multi-positional player. We kept moving him back and forth in L.A."
He spoke highly of Shake Milton as well:
In general, it sounds as though both Rivers and the Sixers are excited about the new partnership:
.@DocRivers: "I want to say how thrilled I am to be here. This is a historic organization and town that I want to be part of. I love the pieces here. I love what we have to work with. With Elton, I'm looking forward to turning this into a championship team." https://t.co/jbh3vHzhVk
Rivers has a title under his belt and has worked with stars like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, so he'll bring an interesting perspective to working with Embiid and Simmons.
While it's fair to argue that his two star-laden Clippers teams never played up to expectations, Rivers also has missed the playoffs just once in his last 13 seasons. Overall, he brings a 943-681 record to Philadelphia.
The Sixers will go as far as Embiid and Simmons can take them. While the roster needs some reworking—it's hard to see a future for Al Horford in Philly, who never fit next to Embiid and is far too expensive to be coming off the bench—Rivers' main priority will be getting the most out of the young star duo.
Expectations are sky high in Philly. With the Rivers hire, excitement is high as well after a disappointing 2019-20 campaign.