Stephen A. Smith gives his thoughts on Sixers firing coach Doc Rivers
The first domino fell for the Philadelphia 76ers following their Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics. The Sixers have now lost in the conference semifinals three seasons in a row and in five of the past six seasons as they continue down their championship path.
In the aftermath, the Sixers fired Doc Rivers after three seasons on the job. Despite a .653 winning percentage across the three seasons, he wasn’t able to get out of Round 2 and that is what ultimately led to his dismissal. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way this business goes.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who believed the Sixers should have kept Rivers, gave his thoughts on the situation:
I said immediately that they just cost Doc Rivers his job. I didn’t want that to happen, but obviously, I had anticipated it, and it’s really, really unfortunate. He’s been employed as a head coach in the NBA last pretty much last 24 years. We know his record, good and bad. We know the success that he’s had. We’ve known there’s about nine other coaches that have won over 1000 games. We know he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, we know all of these things, but we also know that he’s lost 10 Game 7s. We understand that and he’s lost the lead on several occasions with a 3-2 lead, a 3-1 lead, and when your team lead by your superstar Joel Embiid and James Harden are virtual no shows, I’m sorry, literal no shows in not one, but two consecutive close out games in Game 6 in Philadelphia that they could close Boston out and a Game 7 in Boston where they got annihilated, and your team flat out quits on you and then you’ve got guys like James Harden going on social media and talking about this about their relationship and what have you. When Doc Rivers let you go to Vegas during the playoffs for crying out loud. These are the kinds of things where chickens come home to roost. Ultimately, those things are looked upon. You look at what’s transpiring, you look at whether or not you got the pulse of players, etc, etc, and you decided you’re going to make a change and remember Brett Brown got let go, because Brett Brown couldn’t get them to the conference finals. Doc Rivers knew the mandate was to get out of the second round and get them to the conference finals and then three consecutive seasons they came up short. So it’s not a surprise, unfortunately.
.@stephenasmith reacts to the 76ers dismissal of Doc Rivers: pic.twitter.com/RC7cWG1hO0
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 16, 2023
One could argue that Rivers is not at fault for the Game 7 loss. Smith is right when discussing Harden and Embiid. The two of them did not show up in that game as Harden shot 3-for-11 and Embiid shot 5-for-18. The Sixers needed more out of them and they didn’t show up.
However, it is easier to just move on from the coach rather than the star players. It is unfortunate for Rivers, but this is the business and he knows it. Now, the Sixers have to get the replacement right in order to move forward.
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