CAMDEN, N.J. — Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey mentioned coach Doc Rivers will return subsequent season for a 3rd 12 months with the franchise.
“I simply suppose he is a terrific coach,” Morey mentioned throughout Friday’s exit interviews after the Sixers had been eradicated the earlier evening on their house courtroom by the Miami Warmth within the Japanese Convention semifinals. “I really like working with him. I really feel like I am studying from him. I feel [general manager] Elton [Brand] and I and him make a terrific crew, and we’re gonna see the place this journey takes us.
“However we really feel excellent about the place it is gonna take us, and it is gonna be the place we have now an excellent probability to win the title.”
That has been the aim every of the previous two seasons in Philadelphia, since Morey arrived from the Houston Rockets and Rivers from the LA Clippers: to take this crew to stage it hasn’t reached in a technology. The 76ers have not made it previous the second spherical of the playoffs — the place they’ve now misplaced 4 occasions in 5 years — since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001.
The 76ers have not received an NBA championship since 1983.
Morey reiterated that aim when he traded Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks for James Harden on this season’s blockbuster deal on the commerce deadline.
On Friday, Morey repeatedly mentioned the 76ers are trying ahead to spending the offseason discovering methods to “unlock” Harden, who was underwhelming within the playoffs (18.6 factors, 8.6 assists), and to wash up the match alongside celebrity heart Joel Embiid.
When requested a number of occasions instantly if that meant Harden has extra ranges to succeed in or if followers ought to come to decrease their expectations for the previous NBA MVP transferring ahead, Morey artfully danced across the query with out answering it.
As an alternative, Morey mentioned he’s trying ahead to Rivers and his workers discovering methods to make use of Harden.
“Look. He is an extremely proficient participant,” Morey mentioned. “Identical to Joel, identical to Tobias [Harris]. And I am excited for Doc and his workers to have an entire offseason to work with the gamers and give you the most effective plan for the roster we’ll have. … Having all of it come collectively in February makes it very tough to try to work out learn how to … ‘unlock’ all of the totally different expertise of the gamers and the way they will work collectively.
“Everyone knows he is a really expert participant, and we’ll work out learn how to use him.”
Morey additionally adopted up on Harden’s declaration that, as he weighs what to do along with his participant choice this summer time, he shall be again in Philadelphia subsequent season.
“That is the plan, is to have him again,” Morey mentioned. “That is been the plan for the reason that commerce. Clearly, we have now to work along with his illustration and that’ll be between us to determine how that works.”
General, although, it was a melancholy temper — as one would count on for a crew that bounced out of the playoffs within the method that it did, with two straight ugly losses to the Warmth.
“Nicely, we’re sick,” Morey mentioned. “We’re right here as a result of we have now massive aspirations. I do know our followers do as effectively. … That is why we’re right here. That is why we do that. So it is robust to be right here proper now. Nonetheless emotional.
“[But] look, we’re enthusiastic about what we will construct from right here. We predict plenty of issues that we will enhance on and that is myself, that is on [Brand], that is on Coach Rivers. We will determine this out. However we really feel like there’s lots to construct on.”
Whereas Philadelphia has a powerful basis to construct upon, merely due to Embiid’s presence, there nonetheless is loads of work to be performed. Miami star Jimmy Butler was in a position to get what he wished in opposition to the 76ers defensively on this sequence, and perimeter protection was a continuing drawback all season. Depth additionally was a difficulty.
Morey mentioned protection was going to be a spotlight, whereas Rivers echoed Embiid’s statements that the crew wants extra toughness transferring ahead.
“Nicely, I feel it is one thing that our gamers can develop,” Morey mentioned a couple of lack of psychological toughness being a standard theme in exit interviews with gamers. “I imply, going by losses and the way you reply to that and the way you are taking it as your individual look within the mirror. I feel all of us have to look within the mirror and say, ‘How can we every be higher?’ … And that goes for myself as effectively.”
Finally, although, what the 76ers have performed the previous two seasons isn’t any higher than what they did the prior three by way of how far they’ve managed to advance within the postseason. However advancing within the playoffs isn’t any straightforward feat, Rivers mentioned, and requires a studying curve from up and down a corporation to take action.
“As a result of profitable is difficult,” Rivers mentioned. “You simply do not present up and also you simply say, ‘OK, guys. We’re transferring on.’ It is arduous. We’re not the one group. It is arduous to maneuver on. We had a chance final 12 months, did not get it performed. This 12 months was robust. I imply, clearly, with all of the accidents and stuff, so the solutions are straightforward. It is arduous. We’re proper there. We put ourselves within the argument. And that is all you are able to do. And you then come again and hold working at it till you recover from the mountain.
“Milwaukee, you have a look at them, it took two or three years to recover from the mountain. That is simply the best way it really works. It is not assured to anyone.”