Popeye Jones

Sixers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Sixers have officially announced Doc Rivers‘ new coaching staff, confirming today in a press release that Dave Joerger, Sam Cassell, Dan Burke, Popeye Jones, and Brian Adams have been hired as assistants. All five assistant coach additions were reported in the past few weeks.

In addition to those five hirings, the 76ers are retaining Eric Hughes as an assistant, hiring Pete Dominguez as a coaching associate, and giving Todor Pandov the role of assistant coach/performance director.

“After taking this job, one of my top priorities was forming the best staff in the NBA,” Rivers said in a statement. “I’m thrilled with the way it came together as this group boasts years of valuable NBA experience, both playing and coaching, and each member brings a championship-level mindset to the table. I’m confident in my staff’s ability to best support our players and look forward to getting into the lab with our team as soon as we get the green light.”

Joerger, Cassell, and Burke are the most notable additions to Rivers’ staff. Joerger is a former NBA head coach, having compiled a 245-247 (.498) record with the Kings and Grizzlies from 2013-19; Cassell is a veteran assistant who was a member of Rivers’ staff in Los Angeles and received some head coaching buzz this year; and Burke is a highly respected defensive specialist who spent the last two-plus decades in Indiana.

Sixers To Hire Popeye Jones As Assistant Coach

Former Pacers assistant Popeye Jones will join Doc Rivers‘ coaching staff in Philadelphia, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. A Sixers source confirmed the news to Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Jones, who had been with Indiana since 2013, becomes the second former Pacers coach to work under Rivers, joining defensive specialist Dan Burke, who was hired last month. Sam Cassell, Dave Joerger and Brian Adams have also been added to Rivers’ staff.

Jones turned to coaching after playing 11 years in the NBA. He started as a player development coach with the Mavericks in 2007, then got his first job as an assistant with the Nets in 2010. He spent three years there before joining the Pacers.

Levick cited a 2019 interview in which Jones talked about his coaching influences.

“You try to take something away from each guy you played for, and that you worked for as a coach,” he said. “There’s Dick Motta, my first coach — I take a lot from him. I played for Doug Collins, who I love, who’s a perfectionist. I take a lot from him. I worked for Rick Carlisle for a year. I worked for Avery Johnson, who came out of the San Antonio system under (Gregg Popovich). Frank Vogel, who was great in Indiana, I learned from him. And then there’s Nate (McMillan) … all those guys have been instrumental in developing me as a coach.”

Central Notes: James, Wiggins, McMillan, Pistons

LeBron James is falling in the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers team that he built, writes Dave Hyde of The Sun-Sentinel. It was James’ decision to leave Miami for Cleveland two years ago because he saw a franchise with younger talent, Hyde notes, and he pushed for the deal that sent Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota for Kevin Love. James also approved the trade with New York that brought J.R. Smith and supported the hiring of Tyronn Lue, who had no previous experience as a head coach. Cavs managment has given James everything he wanted since his return, Hyde writes, saying it shows the danger of letting a player make too many personnel decisions.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • James’ desire to have Love as a teammate instead of Wiggins shaped the Cavaliers‘ destiny, contends Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Wiggins’ defensive prowess would have been much more valuable against the Warriors, Powell argues, noting that he is also capable of creating offense with his dribble, in contrast to Love, who has settled into a role as a 3-point shooter since he arrived in Cleveland. Wiggins also could have eased the Cavaliers’ financial burden with a rookie contract instead of the maximum deal that Love got last summer.
  • The Cavs’ bench has been letting them down in the finals, points out Marc Berman of The New York Post. Channing Frye, who was acquired in a February deal with the Magic, only has two points in the series. Iman Shumpert has been held to 11. Love came off the bench to score 11 in Game 4, but the rest of the reserves combined for just four points. Berman says depth will need to be the focus of Cleveland’s offseason moves.
  • New Pacers coach Nate McMillan will keep Dan Burke and Popeye Jones as part of his staff, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Agness says McMillan seems to have decided on a third assistant, but no announcement has been made.
  • The Pistons may concentrate on power forwards with the 18th pick in the draft, writes David Mayo of MLive. Detroit traded that pick to Houston for Donatas Motiejunas in a February deal that was later rescinded, so it’s clear that Pistons management recognizes the need for help at the four spot. Mayo lists Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis, Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, Marquette’s Henry Ellenson and Kansas’ Perry Ellis as four possibilities.

Central Notes: Pacers, Cavs, Workouts, Pistons

The Pacers, who typically employ three assistant coaches, will have at least one hole to fill in that group after Nate McMillan‘s promotion to head coach. However, as Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star writes (via Twitter), the team would like to retain its other two assistants, Dan Burke and Popeye Jones. That would leave one opening, and McMillan would have the opportunity to pick his replacement, per Buckner.

Here’s more on Indiana and a few more Central teams:

  • The Pacers held their first pre-draft workout on Tuesday, and will hold another session on Wednesday, according to a pair of announcements from the team. Participants today that had not been previously reported included Dorian Finney-Smith, Michael Gbinije, Sheldon McClellan, and Tyrone Wallace. Tomorrow, Ryan Arcidiacono, Wade Baldwin, Matt Costello, Max Landis, Patrick McCaw, and Kaleb Tarczewski will work out for Indiana.
  • Before he works out for Indiana on Wednesday, Tarczewski participated in a workout for the Cavaliers today, tweets Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops. Cleveland also took a look at Maryland’s Rasheed Sulaimon in that workout, says Scotto.
  • Thon Maker had been scheduled to take part in Indiana’s workout on Wednesday, but he won’t participate due to a scheduling issue, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Zagoria suggests that Maker will still work out for the Pacers and Bulls at some point.
  • Given how defined their roster already is, the Pistons could have the opportunity to gamble on upside with the 18th overall pick in the draft, rather than seeking instant help, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

Odds & Ends: Clippers, Cousins, Pacers, Self

While a few of the more notable games on the 2013/14 NBA schedule have already been reported, the full slate won't be announced until later this afternoon. As we look forward to the 5:00 CT announcement, let's check out a few odds and ends….

  • Chris Paul's new five-year contract with the Clippers makes him one of the NBA's only players locked up through 2018, but Paul believes the team's other long-term fixture will be crucial to L.A.'s success. "I think our team will definitely go as Blake [Griffin] goes," Paul told Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Grantland's Zach Lowe examines the case of DeMarcus Cousins, exploring whether it makes sense for the Kings to try to lock him up or to explore potential trades.
  • Popeye Jones will join Pacers coach Frank Vogel's staff, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
  • At Brandon Knight's introductory presser, Bucks GM John Hammond told reporters, including Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that the team is "by no means" in tanking mode for 2013/14.
  • Kansas coach Bill Self hasn't ruled out the possibility of someday leaving the NCAA for an NBA job, as he told Michael Baldwin of the Oklahoman. "It hasn't really tempted me because I haven't had that many people talk to me about it," Self said. "But at some point and time, sure, I think it would. It would be great to be able to match wits with the best athletes in the world, but I'm certainly happy where I'm at."
  • Bobby Brown is flying to New York to meet with the Knicks, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. Brown is under contract with a Chinese team, but has until August 15th to sign an NBA deal and opt out.