Rivers Addresses Media as Head Coach

by Lauren Rosen

An enthusiastic Doc Rivers addressed Philadelphia media for the first time as the 76ers’ head coach Monday, and he had plenty to say:

“This team is loaded with talent…

They’ve done a lot of winning, but we want to be the winner…

We have to be accountable to each other every single day. That’s the only way we’re going to be successful here.”

From his whirlwind week, to the road ahead, Rivers had plenty to share. Here’s more of what was said…

After head coaching stops in Orlando, Boston, and Los Angeles, Rivers is excited to embrace an iconic franchise and city in Philadelphia:

“This is a historic organization, and a historic 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. I really just can’t wait to get to work.”

It’s been just a week since Rivers hit the coaching market. Reflecting on the last few days, Rivers shared details on how his match with the Sixers came to be:

“It’s been crazy… I needed a day to just gather myself. Then Lonnie (Cooper), [my agent] and I talked, narrowed it down to a couple teams, and the first team I wanted to talk to was here in Philadelphia. Truth be told, mainly because of what they have on the floor. Meeting the ownership group, talking to them, talking to Elton [Brand] - after meeting those guys, I just thought it was a terrific fit for me. Once they decided on me, I had to make the decision - do I want to do that? Because you have to jump fully. You have to jump all the way in. This week I’ve been back and forth several times already. Back and forth, LA to Philly, LA to Philly. It’s been a heck of a week.”

Brand echoed Rivers’ excitement for their newfound partnership, which he expects will extend far beyond on-court activity:

“[Doc] is a proven leader with one of the NBA’s most accomplished resumes, and he’s helped guide some of the best teams and brightest stars. As we prepare for the upcoming season, I believe Doc can help us unlock our full potential on and off the court. Ultimately Doc and I share the same passion to bring another NBA championship to the City of Philadelphia. I also respect that Doc will use his voice to have tough conversations, to change and make a positive impact on society.”

From superstars to role players, Rivers is enthused by the talent on the roster. He added that over the past few days, he’s connected with his new players over the phone.

“We got into talking about winning, immediately, with each one of them - and the expectations of that. I’m going to need them, to buy in, and to buy in together as a group… I can’t wait to get on the court.”

When it comes to young All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Rivers believes he can take the duo to the next level:

“We have two young stars here in Philadelphia. [Ben and Joel have] already had success. My job is to add to that, and try to take them to a place that they’ve not been. They’ve done a lot of winning, but we want to be the winner. Winning is great, but being the winner is the best. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Rivers also discussed the current NBA landscape, and how to succeed in an ever-changing league:

“I think you have to be who you are. The Lakers didn’t worry about going small. They actually went bigger. The mistake a lot of teams have made - everyone wanted to be Golden State, but no one can shoot like Golden State. So to me, everyone made a mistake. You have to be the best version of you, and not apologize for that.”

Rivers noted the Sixers’ size and versatility as qualities that set them apart from the rest of the league. He believes the team’s uniqueness will be its strength:

“This team has great size, great athleticism, great multi-positional players. I think that is new, I think that is the new wave. What I do like, from afar, is this team has the ability to morph in three or four different lineups that can create problems for other teams. That’s something we will definitely do here.”

Check back into Sixers.com for more on Rivers’ journey to Philadelphia.

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