While talking with Malika Andrews and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins on NBA Today, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers made a lofty comparison when talking about the current Sixers team, comparing them with his former team, the Boston Celtics, back when he coached them.
“The one thing that’s important to every championship team is that that they have buy-in. Every single guy has bought in. I say this team is the first team I’ve had since Boston that everyone has bought in. There’s no BS. They’re bought in. They want to be a team.”
Rivers coached the Celtics from 2004 to 2013, having won a title with them in 2008 and made another NBA Finals berth in 2010. Rivers has not reached the same heights as a coach with the Sixers or his team before that, the Los Angeles Clippers, that he once did with the Celtics, but having been there before, he knows what it takes to win a title, and as he said, he believes this Sixers team has what it takes to win one.
Doc Rivers Takes Shot at Previous Clippers Teams
Rivers explained why he believes this Sixers team is different from the Clippers teams he coached from 2013 to 2020.
“I’m not trying to take anything away from that team, but that team was never going to win when you look back at it. We just didn’t get along well enough as a group, and you can’t win without cooperation. That’s the only way you can win,” Rivers said.
Rivers then elaborated that, unlike those previous Clippers teams, the time feels right for the Sixers’ players.
“For teams to win, it has to be the right time for all the players…It may be the right time for this group,” Rivers said.
Though those Clippers teams, who were headlined by the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan, had expectations to win the title in their heyday, the furthest they ever went in the playoffs was the second round.
Rivers may not have only been criticizing the team led by Paul and Griffin, as he also coached the Clippers the first year they had Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, whose season also ended in the second round in 2020 before he stepped down from the team.
JJ Redick Reacts to Doc Rivers’ Comments
In light of Rivers’ harsh words directed at the Clippers’ teams he coached, former Sixer and Clipper JJ Redick responded to Rivers with a rather ambiguous tweet with a caption that said, “This is what dreams are made of.”
Redick did not clarify what he meant by his tweet. Is he happy that Rivers honed up on why those Clippers teams failed when they did, or is he showing a lack of appreciation towards Rivers’ comments knowing the expectations they had when those two went to battle together? No matter what, it appears to also bother Redick that those Clippers teams didn’t come close to a title or even a conference finals during his time with the team.
Redick played under Rivers from 2013 to 2017 before leaving the Clippers for the Sixers.