Doc Rivers on navigating the NBA season during COVID-19: ‘We’re living in scary times’ | Sixers notes
The Sixers coach says that he is working on getting his key rotation players up to speed as soon as possible
With COVID-19 having a major impact on all sports, rosters could become depleted in a moment’s notice.
In light of that, 76ers coach Doc Rivers was asked Wednesday if he had to alter his strategy as a coach due to the pandemic. For instance, would he have to get some lower-rotation players more practice reps because they need to be ready if there are positive cases.
Rivers says the opposite is true -- that he has to have the key rotation players ready as quickly as possible.
“We have to really focus more the other way, more on our top guys learning what we are doing, knowing that we are trying to work everybody in because, let’s be honest, the chances of nothing happening is not very high.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s the problem,” he said. “We’re living in scary times. You think about the four biggest death totals in the United States history, or the eight biggest death totals in United States history, four have been in the last week.
“That’s some scary stuff when you think about it, and so for everybody, I will say this, masks are important, they have been proven to be important. And that’s not a political statement, that’s a life and death statement.”
Maxey a no-go, Scott practiced
First-round draft choice Tyrese Maxey and veteran forward Mike Scott, who both tested positive for COVID-19, returned Tuesday to non-contact drills.
Rivers said that Maxey didn’t practice on Wednesday. A team official said that Scott did participate in practice and contact drills on Wednesday.
Ferguson looking to D up
Terrance Ferguson is looking to make his presence felt on defense. Ferguson was one of three players, along with Danny Green and center Vincent Poirier, the Sixers acquired in a draft night trade with Oklahoma City. The teams agreed to the deal Nov. 18, but the trade didn’t become official until Tuesday.
All three practiced for the first time Wednesday. Ferguson, 22, was a first-round draft choice of Oklahoma City (No. 21 overall) in 2017.
A 6-foot-6 wing, Ferguson started 38 of 56 games last season and averaged 3.9 points.
“I work as hard as I can to be one of the best defenders,” Ferguson said. “That is one of my goals in this league. I will keep doing that and gain the coaches’ trust.”
Poirier, 27, had been acquired by Oklahoma City from Boston on Nov. 19. He played in just 22 games for Boston last year, averaging 1.9 points.
A 7-footer from France, Poirier said he knew he would be coming to the Sixers two weeks ago, but had to wait until things became official. He said waiting was difficult.
“That was hard because everybody started training camp,” he said. “When you come to a new team you wish you could start practice with everybody so it was hard to wait but that is the rules.”
He will likely battle for the third center spot with Tony Bradley, who played the previous three seasons with Utah.
Like Ferguson, Poirier will be known more for his defense.
“I got to be focused on the defense, bring some energy, some talk, getting on the roster, getting my spot, and try to improve every day to help the team,” he said.