Report: Sixers’ Sam Cassell is the lead candidate for the Wizards head coach position

After the 76ers’ shocking second-round loss to the Eagles, many people are talking about The bad game around Ben Simmons The end of the season and his inability/unwillingness to shoot.In recent days, some anger has Transferred to head coach Doc Rivers Because no proper adjustments were made in Game 7, the most obvious was the way he handled the rotation. It is still difficult to understand the depth of 10 players in the elimination game.

He has also been criticized for his handling of players, especially Simmons. Many people believe that he was pampered during the regular season and was allowed. Keep playing your own way Without being forced to change his game, this could have helped his team avoid a surprisingly early exit. And, yes, it is difficult to make changes during the season, but forcing his point guard to be more aggressive and confident is not a fundamental change, nor does it require him to shoot more. At least it should be, but when it comes to Simmons, all the bets are gone.

But contrary to popular belief, the team did prioritize improving Simmons.In the early days of the season, it seemed that the 24-year-old former general draft pick put it all together just to have it all. Smell outside the window When the playoffs come. Now, one of the people who have had the most influence on Simmons during the regular season — if the 76ers choose not to trade him, who could theoretically help the young guard take the next step — may leave the excellent ground.

According to Brian Windhorst The latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell and Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld are the “two main candidates” for the Wizards vacant position.

And Winhorst is not the only one connecting Kassel to the team he started coaching…

After playing for 15 years in his career, Kassel served as an assistant coach for the Wizards from 2009 to 2014 until he was hired by Rivers, the then head coach of the Clippers. Cassel stayed in Los Angeles with Rivers until he followed him to Philadelphia before the 2020-21 season.

One of his important roles in the 76ers this season is to guide Simmons, which means that if the 76ers want to solve the problems that plague their young All-Stars, losing Kassel may be a problem. Critics will say that Cassell can leave with Simmons, because when the season reaches the most critical moment, any influence the former NBA player has on his students disappears. In a way, this is true. But Kassel can only control so much, and he is not a well-trained sports psychologist, this is what Simmons needs most at the moment.

However, before the playoffs collapsed, the cooperation between Cassell and Simmons was enthusiastically evaluated.

First of all, Simmons himself thinks that Cassel helped his free throw percentage. Undeniably, this disappeared in the playoffs, but anyone who observed the problem was well aware of the problem between Simmons’ ears, which Simmons publicly admitted in the Eagles series. But back in late February, the 76ers point guard experienced a good shooting percentage, which is why he had to say at the time why he looked better online through The Sixers Wire.

Another big thing that caught the eye was his success on the free throw line. He made 3 of 5 shots on Thursday, but in his previous four games, he had made 9 free throws, 13 times, 14 times, and 6 free throws, shooting 78.6% from the field. This is a new thing in his game, usually not seen from him.

“I think Sam (Kassel) and I are discussing and working every day,” Simmons added. “Just take it slow and get into the rhythm and know if I really missed it and why I missed it. I think that’s a big one. I have the confidence to line up. I like to get those free agents and have the confidence to knock them down, especially Yes if I want to shoot 10 or 12 points per game.” […]

“I think in general, we just work together,” Simmons finished. “I can connect with him. We talk every day and our relationship is good. It’s just growing. He helped me a lot in my game and managing this team.” []

more: The only one who can fix Ben Simmons is Ben Simmons | Rivers said the Sixers can get Simmons to do it right. Should we trust him?

In addition to working on Simmons’ shooting, Cassel is also the key to Simmons’s growth as an inside player. Just two days after Simmons commented on his mentor, Rivers talked about his long-term assistant’s ability to help players grow. Once again, this is more from Ky Carlin of The Sixers Wire.

“I think Sam is great,” Rivers said. “He has done this wherever he has been. He has strong communication skills. He is very direct. I think he is one of those people. Some people in the league have a way to tell you the truth instead of offending you. I think Sam has done a good job in this regard.”

One aspect of Simmons’s offensive end is that the team plays him more often. Although Joel Embiid has the Philadelphia paint and back position, there is also a way to get Simmons back. Rivers wanted to get this from Simmons, and Cassell helped him.

Rivers added: “He really worked hard in his low post because this is an area that we think is by the end of the year. Even though it is great now, we hope he will be almost unstoppable before the end of the year.” “We every day All working hard.” []

Finally, there is the problem of turnover. It seems like a long time ago, but at the beginning of the season, Simmons was an absolute turnover machine. In the first 41 games of the season (this will be the standard half-season of any other year), Simmons averaged 3.4 turnovers per game and may set a new career record for the worst. However, in the last 30 games of the regular season, this number dropped to 2.3 turnovers per game. If you only look at April and May, Simmons averaged only 1.6 turnovers per game.

In the end, Simmons averaged a career-low 3.0 turnovers per game.

Much of the credit for this change can be attributed to “sale whisperer” Sam Kassel.

“Sam destroys him every time he makes a mistake,” Rivers said. “Even today, if you see, (Simons) is looking at the bench because Sam really lost his mind to it. Sam is a whisperer of turnover, I think, now, because he treats Ben very much. Care. This is very important to us, especially during this time.”

Simmons confirmed that Kassel does often emphasize the importance of avoiding mistakes.

“Yes, Sam has been on my ass, which is a good thing,” he said with a smile. “He tried to help me. I am a point guard, and I have the ball in my hands a lot of the time, so I have to take care of it. We are trying to make sure that the team doesn’t have a fast break, starting with turnovers, not rebounding. Just I control the ball, reduce turnovers, find my players and have high assists, I think we will be fine.” []

There are two opinions: 1) The 76ers put their best assistant on Simmons, and Simmons worked very hard, and when the playoffs came, Simmons was still regressing, so it’s not a big deal to lose him. Or 2) Any progress has been made. For Simmons, the team hopes to progress in the offseason of 2021, and eventually improve next season, they will basically start again.

Even if you think the correct view is the former, the 76ers should do everything they can to retain Cassel-they do have other guards to develop, including last year’s first-round pick. But at this point, they seem to close their eyes, hoping that all is well, because people like Kassel, who have been NBA assistant coaches for more than 10 years, should have won the opportunity of head coach long ago. With him now associated with the team that allowed him to start off the bench, now may be the time.

Hope that Rivers has a backup plan to make the most of Simmons in the offseason, because they will need it. Of course, unless Darryl Morey has his own plan…

more: If the 76ers trade Ben Simmons, who can they get?

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