Daryl Morey, who made his first appearance Monday as president of the Philadelphia 76 basketball club, said he was excited with the potential for championship success from the table built around stars Joel Ambiad and Ben Simmons.
My goal is to win the championship. So whatever we get, we’ll do what we do, Maury said at a virtual press conference where he officially announced his position. But I’d say I have two players with stars plus 24 and 26, so I couldn’t take Doc Rivers to Houston for an interview.
He saw the list and said: That’s great, and I’m sorry I couldn’t come to Houston to meet you, Daryl. And then, of course, I ended up here a few weeks later. … It was pretty cool.
Last month, Maury agreed to leave the Houston Rockets, where he led the basketball team for over a decade. He then stated that he was planning to take leave.
But on Monday, he stood next to Rivers (hired by the bus last month after leaving the LA Clippers), managing director Elton Brand (who is now ahead of Morey in terms of organization) and owner Josh Harris.
That was my plan. Maury was talking about taking a year off before he added laughing: My kids are bothering me.
I’m a pretty competitive guy, but that was my plan. My wife even encouraged me to do it. But Elton, Doc and Josh were ruthless, just ruthless as soon as I left. Honestly, the more you look at what Elton has entered with Joel and Ben as headliners on that list, but with the big players – Al [Horford], Josh [Richardson], Tobias [Harris] and some of the younger players brought into the game last year…. I’m with Doc.
We talked a lot with him, and the more you get involved with the players present, the happier you are with what this team is capable of.
Within a month, the Sixers received one of the best and most respected trainers and leaders of the NBA. Harris said that in both cases, when he and the other six were able to follow the two men, it didn’t make sense.
Harris told you to control yourself. When we came out of the bubble, we thought of ourselves. It didn’t work last year. We were disappointed. And besides, it’s hard. People like Doc Rivers, or trainers like Doc Rivers, managers like Daryl Morey, they have a contract. It’s very difficult to get them out of the current situation. It is rare for them to leave the current situation or for you to have a chance to talk to them.
So as soon as they arrived, we jumped at the opportunity, and yes, I think we really settled down now, with great leadership and great people. I think it’s a new dawn, a new era, and I hope it takes a long, long time. And I hope she wins her case in court. I believe you will.
All six came in last season with high expectations, but did not live up to them. The team has been affected by injuries – especially Simmons’ injury at the NBA call in Orlando, Florida – while the trio of Simmons, Ambiad and Horford have struggled to come together as a team.
But while Ambiad and Simmons have about the size of a small ball, the team’s three-point shooter was built by Morey and Mike D’Anthony with the Rockets, but his old philosophy was not to hunt down three-point shots but stars. And on many occasions Maury has praised Ambiid’s potential, including during a press conference on Monday.
Well, I’d say first of all, the way we play depends on Doc, Maury said. But that’s one of the reasons I’m here – to work with a championship coach like Doc. I think – and I think he agrees with me, he can jump – that the best way to win the NBA is to use your talent and find the best way to use it. Really? It’s not about taking your talent and pushing it into a particular system. It’s about trying to make the best of what you have.
You don’t have to look much when Joel is on the field and healthy, and he’s already there twice a day for a long time, he’s very focused and motivated, it’s an incredibly defensive team. The fact that he’s also a very good attacker… Joel is the player with whom you can win championships if you look at the NBA history. We have tried to build our best team around our talents in Houston, but here Doc will take the talents we have and use them in the best possible way.
ESPN Pablo Torre has a rare conversation with former General Manager Sam Hinky of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Bonus Pod episode. Listen!
While no one doubts the individual talents of Ambiid and Simmons, questions remain about their suitability in court – especially in the current NBA, where shooting and distance are crucial. But both Maury and Rivers tried to deprive each other of any idea that Philadelphia should move forward.
I’m pretty sure they can work together, Maury said.
I have no doubt they can, Rivers. Again, I haven’t been to the lab with them yet, but I know they can.
I think we need to change the story. They haven’t won yet, not that they can’t win. You shouldn’t put it down. But there are many combinations of players in the league who haven’t won yet, and that’s only two players. I look forward to the challenge.
Part of this task will rest on the shoulders of the oceans – trying to come up with a list of talented but seemingly unsuitable things that are better suited. Or, more likely, to modify some of these parts to achieve this goal.
But although Morey has a well-deserved reputation as the most active leader of the league, he stressed the importance of finding the right combination around the stars of the team and the importance of patience.
I think organizations make mistakes when they try to provide an ideal lineup for the first game [of the season], Maury said. The players who will flourish under Doc and the way Doc uses them will teach Elton and me a lot about how to best customize players.
If there’s a big chance, we’ll take it early, of course. But the important thing is that you want to do big things when they’re available. But often the best decision is not the one made all at once.
We want to deepen our understanding before we start with these steps.