NBA | May 31, 2023
Yeah, some things in life really suck. Death, taxes, and the Philadelphia 76ers disappointing in the playoffs.
One of the oldest and most iconic sports franchises ever can’t seem to figure out how to have postseason success. The team hasn’t won a championship since 1983 and hasn’t even made it to a Conference Final since 2001.
Doc Rivers was hired in 2020 due to his championship background but even he couldn’t get the team over the hump. He was fired after the 76ers lost to the Boston Celtics in the Conference Semifinals.
It wasn’t a surprise as Rivers has struggled to find postseason success for a long time. This was also a very strong head coaching market. Just a year after Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri chided the Los Angeles Lakers for having an interest in Nick Nurse, he decided to fire the coach. Nurse won a championship in 2019, which was his first season as a head coach. He then missed the playoffs in two of the next four seasons, including this most recent season. Firing him seemed premature but he landed on his feet quickly. According to NBA rumors, the 76ers were quick to take Nurse off the market and name him as their new head coach.
Can Nick Nurse take the #Sixers to the next level?
— JAKIB Sports (@JAKIBSports) May 30, 2023
He will have every opportunity to prove that the Raptors made a mistake. Nurse will now get to coach the NBA’s reigning MVP Joel Embiid. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to coach James Harden but the team might be better off going in a different direction. The 76ers have the talent to compete for championships but Embiid has never even played Conference Finals.
Embiid and Nick Nurse had a private meeting during the interview process. The meeting was said to go very well. Clearly it did, because he was just hired. pic.twitter.com/LPgwL9SFhl
— Aidan LaPorta (@aidanlaporta69) May 30, 2023
Hiring Nurse was a logical move for 76ers president Daryl Morey to make due to his previous ties to the Houston Rockets. Nurse was the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2011 to 2013, which is the Rockets’ G League team. There’s familiarity between the two.
The 76ers have a championship window with Embiid playing at such a level so there’s no time to waste. Considering Nurse won a championship in his first season with the Raptors, he could be the perfect man for the job. He’s proven he can be part of a quick turnaround. For those of us that like to bet on basketball, we're hoping Embiid and Nurse turn things around for the team.
Things were growing stale with the Raptors and sometimes a change of scenery is what a coach needs. Nurse has proven to be a top coach in the NBA and should be an upgrade over Rivers. There were some really strong candidates available this offseason but the 76ers were quick to lock up Nurse and make the NBA news and rumors official. Morey is clearly confident that he’s the right guy for the job.
If Nurse can’t get it done, it might be time to start questioning whether or not Embiid can be the best player on a championship team. There’s no doubt he’s a great player but he hasn’t risen to the challenge in the playoffs. Nurse needs to make sure he gets the best out of the MVP when the most important games are being played.