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Doc Rivers Escapes One Catastrophe to Redeem Another In the 76ers

Illustration for article titled Doc Rivers Escapes One Catastrophe to Redeem Another In the 76ers
Photo: Jared Wickerham (Getty Images)

Depending on who you ask, the 76ers head coaching gig is either a blessing or a curse.

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Yes, they have two transcendent talents in blossoming superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but their chemistry—or lack thereof—makes Donald Trump and Joe Biden look like childhood friends. They’re also hamstrung by a deeply flawed roster, a salary cap situation that comes with its own hypertension prescription, a stockpile of untradeable assets and expectations to still compete for a title despite common sense determining otherwise.

Where the Clippers underachieved, the 76ers are a bumbling infant that can’t get out of its own way. But in being a master escape artist, I suppose that makes Philadephia the perfect place for Doc Rivers to pursue his quest for redemption.

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Mere days after “mutually” parting ways with the Temecula Clippers (Los Angeles resigned guardianship hours after the team imploded in the playoffs), Doc has agreed to a lucrative five-year deal to helm the 76ers, according to ESPN.

“Welcome to the city of Brotherly Love Coach @DocRivers !!!!” tweeted Embiid. “Excited for the future and what we’re building here #PhillyForever”

If Doc was eager to escape a disaster, his decision to embrace another by joining the 76ers is peculiar at best. Because with two blossoming superstars of its own, far more tantalizing complimentary pieces and much more manageable expectations, the Pelicans would’ve allowed Doc to lick his wounds while fielding one of the most promising teams in the league. But for reasons unknown, Doc opted to be a glutton for punishment and instead spend at least the next 365 days of his life begging Ben Simmons to shoot further than six feet away from the basket.

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Good luck with that.

“I’m excited for Doc and for the Sixers,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s a great coach, as I mentioned the other day, he’s great for the league. So I’m happy that he’s quickly back in the NBA. He’s important for the league and for the rest of the coaches.”

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If 76ers general manager Elton Brand can miraculously reconfigure the bench by enlisting players that can create their own shot and shooters that finally spread the damn floor, Doc has a fighting chance. But the 58-year-old coach will also have to drag Embiid to the Wizard of Oz so he can finally find some heart and have a come to Jesus meeting with his franchise power forward point guard: “Are you gonna shoot the rock or nah?”

Hopefully, as Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson spend the next decade or so terrorizing the league, Doc is able to live with this decision.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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DISCUSSION

I mean, i guess he did it just to stay in the business?
By the way, can we mention how unceremoniously the Clippers kicked this man out? Doc Rivers was likely one of the best and outspoken members of that entire organization, and they always gave him a microphone because they understood his heart.
But they needed a scapegoat so that PG and Kawhi would ask for a trade this offseason, and with so few black coaches in the league, it just feels like they completely do not care for anything he talked about this whole summer.