76ers beat writer’s Doc Rivers pity party falls flat as he scolds fans who blame the coach for a slow start to the season
For those of you who have been wrapped up in the Phillies World Series run and the undefeated Eagles season, here’s a quick update on the Philadelphia 76ers. Doc Rivers is on the hot seat in Philadelphia.
After two of the more gut-wrenching early playoff exits in 76ers’ history, and a slow start in 2022-23, there is a growing discontent with the way Doc Rivers has managed this team over the first month of the regular season.
Then in his darkest hour, riding in to save him from the hordes of Sixers fans screaming for change, an unlikely savior rides in. None other than the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey has come to scold fans for daring to hold Doc Rivers accountable.
Doc Rivers defended by Keith Pompey
In a short piece in the Inquirer that is eerily reminiscent of Ken Rosenthal’s Athletic article on the ways that Joe Girardi didn’t deserve blame for the Phillies struggles early struggles, Keith Pompey lists all the reasons Sixers fans should have patience with Doc Rivers.
Those reasons include:
- Joel Embiid has missed time due to illness.
- James Harden is injured.
- PJ Tucker is old.
- There are a lot of new pieces with this roster that need time to gel.
- Doc Rivers has won a lot of regular season games, and even once upon a time won a championship.
Now, if you’ve watched the Sixers much in the past six years you probably aren’t shocked that Joel Embiid has gotten off to a slow start. The man’s entire workout routine consists of playing himself into shape over the course of the first two months of the season. You also probably aren’t surprised that James Harden has encountered some injury trouble if you have followed the NBA even casually over the past few seasons. These seem like things a Hall of Fame coach would be prepared to address.
The arguments that PJ Tucker has lost a step and that the new guys just haven’t started playing well together yet because they need more time to become a cohesive unit also fall flat. The core of this team and coaching staff has remained unchanged. The addition of a handful of free agents throwing the team into this level of calamity seems unreasonable given that fact.
Whether or not Doc Rivers won a title and has accumulated a lot of regular season wins in his career is moot at this point. Can we honestly expect fans to sit on their hands after season after season of early playoff exits and the gnawing sense that Joel Embiid’s prime is slipping away? Georges Niang seems to think so given his quote at the end of the article.
“I think in our locker room, we are all rallying around each other and how can we all make each other better,” Niang said. “And I think Doc is a spearhead for that. He’s always been a team guy first since I’ve known him and since he’s coached me.
“I think that goes a long way, more than people think. And I think it’s unfair for them to say that.”
Some might say that fans calling for Doc to be fired is unfair. Others might say never advancing past the second round of the playoffs with a generational talent is even worse.
The Philadelphia 76ers are back in action tonight in South Philadelphia, hosting the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns. Read our full game preview here.
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