In an insightful piece for CNBC, Sports Business reporter Jabari Young weaves an interesting narrative with interviews and quotes from NBA insiders and executives about how Doc Rivers’ role as NBA head coach is much broader, particularly for a franchise like the Sixers.
The “Chief Performance Officer” is the moniker those in the know are bestowing on Rivers in the article. It’s hard to disagree. Consider how much the Sixers need and want to accomplish on and outside the hardwood.
Not only is Rivers shepherding the franchise through and hopefully out of a dark time known as “The Process,” he and his staff's ability to develop and maximize franchise cornerstones Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will translate to sustained winning, possibly another championship which has eluded the organization for 37 years.
Regular season and deep postseason success helps create the type of social capital the organization needs after a failed arena bid for the Penn’s landing area, proposed and then retracted employee salary reductions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the unscrupulous choices surrounding “Burnergate” and former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.
In the words of Bill Parcells, “Winning is a great deodorant.”
Rivers’ hiring is uniformly lauded by the NBA executives and insiders quoted in the piece, which cites two of Rivers’ previous coaching stops, Boston and LA, where he helped the Celtics and Clippers franchises rise from unfavorable circumstances both between the lines and outside of them.
There are several great nuggets of information in the article. This paragraph about why the Sixers had the best home record last season at 31-4 but a 12-26 road record really stood out to me:
“One NBA team staffer with knowledge of the Sixers’ affairs said the club lacked focus on the road and that the team’s traveling party was too big. The staffer called the Sixers “unorganized,” adding the club had too many front office staff with titles but undefined roles.”
The Sixers brass has been a place of mystery for Sixers fans for quite some time with GM Elton Brand calling for “more basketball minds” in what was an analytics-laden front office just a few short months ago.
The recent shuffling among the team’s shot callers appears to address those concerns, but as the team’s “Chief Performance Officer,” Rivers is the one bearing the bulk of the weight in turning the on-court product into the championship model so many fans are waiting for.