Even though he wasn’t able to deliver the championship that Philadelphia fans want, Doc Rivers has fond memories of his time with the Sixers, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rivers reflected on his three years with the team after his Bucks posted a convincing win in his return to the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.
“It was awesome,” Rivers said. “I mean like, really. I had three really good years here. And I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about life. I enjoyed my stay here. I have made friends for life here. … The fans were good. A couple of hilarious comments. I will say that.”
Management decided a coaching change was necessary last spring after the Sixers were ousted by Boston in the second round, marking the third straight year the team lost in the conference semifinals. Rivers talked about that loss, asking reporters how many of them had picked Philadelphia to win and stating that Game 6 was the team’s best chance to close out the series. He also looked back on Joel Embiid‘s development into the league MVP and the chaos surrounding Ben Simmons and James Harden.
“So [there was] a lot of stuff going on,” Rivers said. “Some of it was out of my control. But overall, for me, if you don’t win a title, you’re never exactly happy. That’s why we all do this. … But I loved it here.”
There’s more on the Sixers:
- Also returning was Patrick Beverley, who spent the first part of the season in Philadelphia before being shipped to Milwaukee at the deadline, Pompey states in a separate story. Beverley has taken some shots at his former team on his podcast, but he was conciliatory on Sunday, saying he was “excited” to be back and he understands the reasons for the trade. “I was probably playing some of the best basketball I’ve played in my career,” he said. “So at the end of the day, that’s a business. You get a 35-year-old on a minimum. You can get a younger guy and a second-round pick for him. You can say, that’s a hell of a deal. I understand the business part of it. But wasn’t shocked. Not in this league, definitely wasn’t shocked. I’m just happy they sent me here instead of Washington, D.C., or something.”
- De’Anthony Melton returned from a spine issue on Friday that sidelined him for most of the past two months, notes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Combined with the recent addition of Kyle Lowry, the Sixers have plenty of options in the backcourt, and coach Nick Nurse has started experimenting with three-guard lineups.
- The Sixers need more production from Tobias Harris for the offense to be effective, especially while Embiid is sidelined with a meniscus injury, observes Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.