Doc Rivers has had a mediocre run with the Sixers so far. Since he arrived in 2020, Rivers has coached Philly to 2 straight playoff appearances.
In the 2020-2021 NBA season, Philadelphia fell in the 2nd round to the Hawks in 7 games. The following year in the 2021-2022 season, they fell to the Heat again in 2nd round, this time losing in 6 games.
Is Rivers showing he can’t coach winning basketball or are we just overreacting?
While the 76ers are coming off of 2 straight playoff appearances with Doc, Philly hasn’t been able to make it past the Eastern Conference Semis. The last time the Sixers made it past the 2nd round was in the 2000-2001 season when they fell to Philly native Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.
Doc Rivers needs to show he can bring Philadelphia back to this success.
The 76ers have the runner-up in the MVP race in back-to-back years, as well as the 2017-2018 NBA MVP in James Harden. They should have no issues making it past the 2nd round. But they do. And Doc needs to fix that.
This year may be the last chance for the Sixers to win a championship, as Harden likely will not resign in the off-season.
Nonetheless, over the past two years, it has been proven the Rivers isn’t coaching a championship-caliber team, when they have the assets to be one. If he wants to stay the 76ers head coach, then he needs to make it at least to the Eastern Conference Finals. If he is unable to do this, he very well could be heading out the door.
Rivers has shown recently that he does not know how to set a lineup that plays winning basketball. For example, Georges Niang is having a career year. He is averaging one of the highest PPG and FG% in his career. P.J. Tucker on the other hand has had undoubtedly the worst year of his career, averaging a measly 3.6 points a game.
Giving Niang the starting job should be obvious, right?
Not for Doc.
Tucker has been the starting Power Forward all year long, and there doesn’t seem to be any change near.
Tyrese Maxey for most of the year has been a 6th man, with De’Anthony Melton starting. Granted, Maxey was out with a foot injury for a month, but why didn’t he get the starting job back when he came back? Melton for sure is having a great year defensively, but the Sixers need Maxey’s offense as they rank 16th in the NBA in PPG and 3rd in the league for points allowed per game.
The defense is already taken care of with Embiid and Harris. The scoring needs to get better. Doc needs to change the rotations if he wants this team to go far.
Doc Rivers has done an excellent job in the regular season as Philly has been a top 3 seed each season he has coached them. However, come playoff time it seems as if all the determination and drive in the regular season has just diminished. Rivers loses his will to win in the playoffs.
Does this mean he will be fired after this year?
Only time will tell.