Doc Rivers knows a thing or two about coaching All-Stars.
The Sixers’ new head coach has had 10 All-Stars play for him across three teams and 21 NBA seasons.
With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons now his two core pieces, let’s look at Rivers’ history with All-Star talent:
Grant Hill (2001)
Hill made the 2001 All-Star Game because of his popularity, not his on-court performances. Injuries limited him to four games in 2000-01 and just 47 games overall under Rivers.
Tracy McGrady (2001-2004)
McGrady was the NBA’s top scorer twice in Orlando.
The Magic faltered near the finish line when they had their best chance to win a playoff series with McGrady in 2003. Orlando built a 3-1 lead over the Pistons and then lost the next three games by 31, 15 and 15 points, respectively. Chauncey Billups totaled 77 points in Games 6 and 7.
When Rivers was fired after a 1-10 start to the next season, McGrady said that he had one big dispute with Rivers but got along fine with him otherwise.
"It was just a game,” McGrady told reporters, per The Orlando Sentinel. “It was last year. I had a bad game and we bumped heads. But after that we were two professional guys and we dropped that and moved on. We didn't even talk about it anymore. Everybody is bringing up now that we didn't get along and that I had something to do with him getting fired, that's [expletive].”
Paul Pierce (2005-2006, 2008-2012)
The Celtics’ lone All-Star when Rivers was hired, Pierce eventually got the help he needed to become a champion.
His relationship with Rivers was occasionally bumpy, though it’s clear the two have a deep mutual respect.
Ray Allen (2008-2009, 2011)
Allen was a part of some great Celtics teams, but the Big 3 era ended on a bitter note.
In 2018, Allen told NBC Sports Boston that he was “starting to feel this type of resentment toward me on the floor” during the 2011-12 season. He said he expressed that to Rivers, who informed him the coaching staff had talked about the issue, a response Allen didn’t find satisfactory.
Allen signed with the Heat that summer.
Kevin Garnett (2008-2011, 2013)
The glue of the Big 3, Garnett’s scoring took a hit with the Celtics as he adapted to having more talent around him than in Minnesota.
His efficiency increased, though, and his defense and wild-eyed intensity remained world-class. Garnett gave perhaps one of the best postgame interviews ever after Boston clinched the NBA title in 2008, declaring to the world, “Anything is possible!”
Rajon Rondo (2010-2013)
Rondo led the league in steals once and in assists twice with Boston.
At least in terms of open-floor creativity, speed and defensive disruption, there are some similarities between Rondo and Simmons. How Rivers uses Simmons offensively is an important question.
Blake Griffin (2014-2015)
The Clippers had the league’s best offensive rating in the 2013-14 and ’14-’15 seasons, thanks in large part to Griffin and his above-the-rim exploits.
Chris Paul (2014-16)
Paul, according to a 2018 story by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, told Clippers owner Steve Ballmer that Rivers was “one of the contributing factors” in him leaving the team.
Rivers did say to reporters last month that he and Paul now have a “great” relationship. It’d be a fascinating reunion if the Sixers were to end up trading for Paul this offseason.
DeAndre Jordan (2017)
A lob finisher, rim protector and, until recently, woeful free throw shooter, Jordan made his only All-Star Game as a Clipper.
You’ll notice there aren’t any high-scoring centers comparable to Embiid on this list.
Kawhi Leonard (2020)
An overachieving 48-win team in 2018-19, the Clippers had a different look and identity this season.
Rivers only had one year to make things work, and it didn’t help that Leonard and Paul George combined to shoot 10 for 38 in L.A.'s Game 7 loss to the Nuggets.