Day One: 76ers Training Camp
The Philadelphia 76ers held their first day of training camp today in South Jersey. Players can’t work out in large groups yet and are being tested daily for COVID-19. Their first preseason game is in two weeks. With a new coach, several new faces, and the need to build a starting line-up and rotations, the Sixers do not have any time to spare when getting prepared for the 2020-21 season.
Luckily for the Sixers, new head coach Doc Rivers has a vision and a plan to move forward, which is extremely refreshing to see from a Sixers head coach after Brett Brown seemingly never had a plan that he could bring to life. On the first day of camp, there’s are glaring differences already between Rivers and Brown.
Doc Rivers is adamant on running more pick and rolls. These sets will include Tobias Harris, who during his time on the Clippers, had tremendous succcess as a driver and pick-and-roll ball handler. Doc was extremely straight forward about Harris and how he wants him to get back to being a “quick decision maker that takes advantage of mismatches”, which is great to hear given the fact that Tobias struggled during his time on the Sixers when he was forced to be a ball handler. Rivers’ wants Tobias to identify mismatches and take advantage of them. Harris should be able to do so while playing his natural position at power forward.
Rivers also “guaranteed” that there will be more pick-and-roll sets with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He’s a huge supporter of Ben Simmons being a “label free” player and isn’t worried about Ben Simmons shooting the ball. He wants to ensure that Ben is put in a position where he does have the opportunity to take shots as needed, but is more focused on getting Ben in open space, playing aggressive, and facilitating the basketball to his shot makers on the outside.
Luckily for Doc and Simmons, these types of lineups should be easy to come by with the additions of Danny Green and Seth Curry. First round draft pick Tyrese Maxey loves to play at a face pace and run the floor as well.
While Rivers was hesitant to stamp an “identity” on the Sixers team day one of training camp, he made it very clear that he will always be straightforward with his messaging and hold players accountable to perform at a level that’s needed night in and night out.
- Advance the ball.
- Get up and down the floor.
- Stay in your lanes.
- Fast pace.
- Strong defense.
One player Rivers spoke about outside his three main stars was Shake Milton. It’s clear that Rivers likes Shake and is excited about his potential. He mentioned that Shake was a player he had his eye on right when he took the job. Much like Simmons, he wants Shake to be “free” on the court and develop his playmaking abilities while taking over ball-handling duties off the bench.
Everything that Doc Rivers covered on day one of training camp was perfect. Talk about a breath of fresh air for the Philadelphia 76ers. His leadership, basketball mind, and experience were on full display. While the window to prepare is a mere two weeks, we should all be thankful that Doc Rivers is the man in charge of getting the Sixers sorted out before their first preseason game against the Celtics on December 15th.