Even though it was just one game, last night’s 76ers win put Doc Rivers on the hot seat in Philadelphia
Rule number one in sports: Never talk about another man’s job.
Well, screw it. After the Sixers performance last night against the first place team in the Eastern Conference in the Brooklyn Nets, I figured rules were meant to be broken and we should specifically talk about how Doc Rivers was not coaching and how the Sixers ripped off a 110-102 victory against the first place Brooklyn Nets for their best win of the season.
After the game, we got yet another classic press conference from Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, but the video that caught my attention happened in the locker room with Dan Burke, the 76ers assistant coach who took over head coaching duties in Rivers’ absence.
Just look at the team’s incredible reaction to Dan Burke’s first victory as head coach. If it doesn’t give you chills then I’m going to need to check your pulse.
Look, I get it. Obviously this is just one game and there will be no immediate coaching changes. But honestly, the issues with Doc Rivers stem far beyond just last night and no one needs a reminder of last year’s playoffs to prove that point.
However, if you watched the Sixers throughout this season and don’t think Doc Rivers is a problem, then you’re probably exiting out of this article as you read this. And of course, no one likes to see a man lose his spot due to injury or illness, but maybe exceptions should be made.
Two Examples: Lou Gherig replaced Wally Pipp. Mike Vick replaced Donovan McNabb.
It’s been clear this past season that Doc just isn’t the guy for the job when it comes to leading this team to a title. Frankly, he’s not the guy to lead any team to any title. Just look at how loaded those late 00’s Celtics teams were. He only won once. That should have been a dynasty and it doesn’t stop there.
Doc Rivers has coached SIX teams that have blown 3-1 or 3-2 series leads:
- 2020 Round 2 vs Nuggets 3-1
- 2015 Round 2 vs Rockets, 3-1
- 2012 East Finals vs Heat, 3-2
- 2010 NBA Finals vs Lakers, 3-2
- 2009 Round 2 vs Magic, 3-2
- 2003 Round 1 vs Pistons, 3-1
Again, that’s not even including what happened with the 76ers in last year’s playoffs. Everywhere he goes there seems to be a trend. There is an insanely talented roster, they earn a high seed in the playoffs, and then they collapse.
The Sixers have the opportunity to avert that trend right now.
Dan Burke and/or Sam Cassell immediately give the Sixers a better chance to win a championship simply based on Rivers and what he has done in the past and this season alone.
What has Doc shown us during his time in Philadelphia that he deserves to remain head coach?
You have the playoffs last year obviously, but even before that, he spent the entire season mismanaging Ben Simmons and getting annoyed at the media anytime they brought up Simmons’ shooting and how it would hurt this team in the playoffs.
Even if you don’t think that Simmons should have been mad at Doc after what he said following Game 7, that’s fine, but Rivers totally botched his post game interview there as well. More recently, Rivers got flustered by Keith Pompey, a man mostly known for malapropisms and being the most awkward podcast host alive.
How do we expect him to handle a coach like Erik Spoelstra in a heated playoff series against Miami?
My guess: He’ll crack like an egg.
We know because we saw it last year against the Atlanta Hawks. He stared, frozen, as the Hawks climbed back from double digit deficits on multiple nights. Never knowing when to switch up his rotations or call a timeout.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been frustrating to watch all season. Last night was a huge win and a step in the right direction, but still they are a team hovering around the .500 mark and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Is it even possible that Ben Simmons would return if Doc Rivers was no longer the head coach? I mean stop and think about it. I certainly wouldn’t rule that out of the equation. Making a change at Head Coach might be just the thing they need to go over the top.
At the very least we’ll never have to be threatened with an Andre Drummond- Joel Embiid lineup again.
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports