Doc Rivers knows the price of trying to be the "next Warriors." His failure to bottle greatness and turn the Los Angeles Clippers into the NBA's next goliath cost him his job.
Now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, Rivers plans to play to his team's strengths in the City of Brotherly Love. He believes the biggest mistake teams have made of late is that they try to replicate what cannot be duplicated.
“I think you have to be who you are,” Rivers said at his introductory press conference. “I think the mistake a lot of teams have made is that everyone wanted to be Golden State, but nobody can shoot like Golden State so, to me, everyone made a mistake.”
It's hard to deny the truth in Rivers' words.
The Warriors turned the NBA on its head five years ago, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson blitzing teams from deep. The addition of Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016 only made the NBA's most dangerous offense all the more lethal.
Teams were clamoring to find a way to build the next version of the Warriors while Curry, Thompson, Durant, Draymond Green and Steve Kerr feasted on their carcasses.
The Houston Rockets made it their mission. It crashed and burned. Teams were gobbling up 3-and-D wings like they were going out of style, hoping the right pairing around their star(s) would elevate them to basketball greatness.
But, as Rivers said, no one can shoot like the Warriors.
A team like the Miami Heat can have elite shooters in Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro, but they are not the elite players that Curry and Thompson are.
It's one reason to commend the Los Angeles Lakers. They built their team around defense and the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, neither of whom are great outside shooters. They have bullied teams inside, crashed the boards and let James and Davis do the rest.
They have been themselves and are one win away from a title.
Now, would they be able to contend with a Warriors team that can eviscerate you from the next zip code? It would be a contrast in style and one we will see next year when Curry and Thompson return healthy.
Rivers' Sixers must take a page from the Lakers' book and rely on what they have. Not try and wave a wand and become something no other team can be.
The Warriors' greatness can't be replicated.