Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Doc Rivers needs to turn what’s normally months of offseason prep into a few weeks | Off the Dribble

How long will it take the Sixers' coach to get fully acclimated with his team? He has no idea.

Doc Rivers is just seeing his team practicing together for the first time, and the preseason starts in a week.
Doc Rivers is just seeing his team practicing together for the first time, and the preseason starts in a week.Read moreJack Dempsey / AP

Hello, world.

Happy Monday to you. Let’s make this the start of a great week. The 76ers started training camp practice yesterday. While they said it was a good start, it’s hard to gauge how good it was considering they were missing key players due to COVID-19 and a trade not being finalized. But most of the players were able to get on the court and learn from new coach Doc Rivers, which is a good start.

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers. Thank you for reading.

— @PompeyOnSixers (

Rivers doesn’t have a time frame

Rivers is unaware of how long it will take to get used to his personnel.

And that’s understandable.

Rivers’ first preseason as the Sixers coach is definitely unique. First-round pick Tyrese Maxey, veteran Mike Scott both tested positive for COVID-19 while another unidentified player had inconclusive results, according to a league source. They can’t join the team until they pass the NBA’s COVID protocol.

Meanwhile, Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson can’t join the team until after their trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder becomes official tomorrow.

Added to that, the offseason was condensed due to the pandemic.

Typically, an NBA season concludes in June with the Finals, and the next season begins in October. In between, there’s the draft in late June. Free agency and the NBA summer league for rookies, young players, and overseas types are in July. Then August and most of September are about relaxation or individual preparation for the season.

However, because of the pandemic, the 2019-20 NBA Finals ended on Oct. 11. The draft was on Nov. 18, with free agency starting two days later. The individual workout portion of training camp began Tuesday and the first practice was yesterday.

“Listen, I’m a little bit nervous about the fact that you don’t get your typical month in the gym before camp,” Rivers said, “and guys are playing together. You are putting in some of your system and guys are learning your way. …

“I don’t think it can be understated how unusual where your first day of practice [Monday was] literally the first time you spent a lot of time with guys or they spent a lot of time with each other.”

Right now, Rivers is focused on doing his best to simplify things to get continuity quicker.

“But,” Rivers said. “I don’t have a time frame.”

Starting Five

  1. Already feeling the effect of COVID. Limited access to players, a shorter schedule and empty arenas are signs that a unique season is upon us.

  2. Let Ben Simmons be who he is, writes David Murphy. The Sixers star has shown he can adapt to almost any lineup, so don’t ask him to change.

  3. Tobias Harris is happy to be reunited with Doc Rivers, writes Marc Narducci. Harris had his best statistical showing while playing for Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers.

  4. Sixers’ first-half schedule released. But fans won’t be allowed to attend games at the Wells Fargo Center at the start of the season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

  5. Isaiah Joe looks to soak in information, make most out of Sixers’ opportunity. “As much as I can learn right off the bat, that’s going to be for the better,” Joe said. He’s in the right spot to not just learn from veterans, but learn from veterans with a similar skill set.

Sharpshooter Terry Harris in need of opportunity

Terry Harris just might be the best shooter in the Harris household.

Yes, that includes his older, Tobias, the Sixers’ standout power forward.

Terry has been turning heads while working this offseason with trainer Chris Johnson.

There’s a sense that, given an opportunity, Harris will put up much better numbers than in his limited playing time this past season with Delaware Blue Coats. The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 3.5 points in 7.9 minutes in 16 appearances with three starts. He shot 32.4% on three-pointers, arguably because of a lack of rhythm from his limited action.

Terry averaged 8.1 points and shot 41.1 % on three-pointers as a senior at North Carolina A&T during the 2018-19 season.

Important Dates:

Dec. 15: Boston Celtics at Sixers, 7 p.m., TNT, Wells Fargo Center (Preseason game)

Dec. 18: Sixers at Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Preseason game)

Dec. 23: 2020-21 Season Opener: Washington Wizards at Sixers 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia, Wells Fargo Center

Dec. 26: Sixers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m., NBA-TV, Madison Square Garden

Dec. 27: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

Passing the Rock

Question: When will the OKC trade be finalized? — @Sarcasm_facts on Twitter

Answer: What’s up? Thanks for the question. As you know, the Sixers agreed to acquire Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, a 2025 protected first-rounder, the 34th pick of the Nov. 18 draft, and the rights to Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic. However, those players won’t be with their new teams until the trades becomes official on Tuesday. OKC is aggregating salary to make the trade, according to a league source. The Thunder can’t do so until then.