The Sixers are very much in the honeymoon phase with new head coach Nick Nurse. Several players have lauded Nurse’s creativity and the freedom they feel playing for him.
With that comes the occasional (intentional or unintentional) pot shot at former head coach Doc Rivers.
Paul Reed was a player that seemed to always find himself in Rivers’ doghouse. The veteran coach, who had a reputation for not using young guys, played bigs like DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap and Montrezl Harrell over Reed — when the evidence was quite clear who the best option was.
After practice Tuesday, Reed talked about Nurse empowering him to shoot.
While making it clear Rivers ... did not.
Paul Reed: "Last season, if I was taking 3s, I probably wouldn't have played for like 10 games. This year, they want me to shoot the ball more. I'm still making the adjustment, and realizing where my shots are gonna come from within the offense.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) October 10, 2023
Reed, who admitted he wasn’t at his best in the Sixers’ preseason opener this past Sunday, took a three-point attempt early in the game. While he didn’t make it, it was a fine decision by Reed to take a wide-open look. Reed hasn’t had much success at the NBA level from distance, but he shot over 44 percent from three on a healthy volume (3.9 attempts) in 24 G League games with the Delaware Blue Coats. Reed has also talked about working with Nurse on his shot mechanics.
Bball Paul might just be trying to illustrate how emboldened he feels under Nurse more than taking a jab at Rivers. But you never know.
Other players have discussed Nurse’s offense and how it feels like more of an equal-opportunity scheme than what was done under Rivers. Danuel House, Jr., another player that didn’t seem to always have the trust of Doc, gave a pretty blunt assessment last week at training camp.
Danuel House Jr. on the coaching style change: “It’s a lot more selfless basketball. It’s not so much of two guys having the ball. Doc is two guys ball dominant, Nick Nurse is everybody play together, everybody work for each other” pic.twitter.com/IMU6UAKZv0— PHLY Sixers (@PHLY_Sixers) October 4, 2023
Even Joel Embiid, who won an MVP under Rivers, agrees that the changes in the offense are for the better.
Embiid on Philadelphia’s offensive changes: “The biggest difference? I love it and we all love it. This is the best way to win and I’ve always believed that. I never liked the idea of just being a scorer.” pic.twitter.com/9IIwUuptju— PHLY Sixers (@PHLY_Sixers) October 5, 2023
As for the status of Embiid and James Harden for Wednesday’s preseason home opener against the Celtics, Nurse said that it’s still yet to be determined. However, both players participated fully in practice.