Sixers hire Phil Beckner, who trains Damian Lillard, as coaching consultant


The Sixers have hired Phil Beckner, who trains Blazers superstar Damian Lillard, as a coaching consultant.

Fox Sports' Yaron Weitzman first reported the news, which NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark confirmed. Weitzman reports Beckner was hired in July, "is expected to assist the coaching staff in several areas" and will likely spend time with the Sixers' summer league team in Las Vegas.

The Sixers' first summer league game is Aug. 9. Brian Adams, a Sixers assistant, will serve as head coach of a group that includes first-round pick Jaden Springer, second-year guard Tyrese Maxey and G League MVP Paul Reed. 

Beckner has coached at Weber State — where he first formed a connection with Lillard — as well as Nebraska and Boise State. He also spent a season on the staff of the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder's D-League affiliate.

Lillard has spoken about Beckner as a major influence for him on and off the court, someone who's not hesitant about being harsh when necessary.

“(Beckner) was sending me (film clips) game after game, and each game was labeled NGE,” Lillard said, per a story in May by the Athletic's Jason Quick. “Not good enough … not good enough … not good enough.”

Lillard, who turned 31 years last month, has been the subject of frequent trade speculation this offseason. He has four years remaining on his contract and has placed pressure on Portland's front office to improve the team around him.