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NBA

Doc Rivers set to continue as 76ers head coach

With trades, injuries and a lack of depth, the coach still managed to guide his team to the Eastern Conference semis. Should that be recognized?

Paul Rudder
Update:
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is set to continue in his job next season
Tim NwachukwuAFP

Despite a disappointing end to their post season, the 76ers have made it clear that they will be sticking with their head coach.

Doc Rivers will be Sixers coach next season

According to comments made by The Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the franchise won’t be looking for a new coach this off-season. This despite the fact that the Sixers were eliminated by the Miami Heat in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Thursday night. With that established, head coach Doc Rivers can now begin spearheading what will undoubtedly have to be an off-season of soul searching and rebuilding around star center Joel Embiid.

There was of course intense speculation that Rivers would be dismissed considering the fact that the Sixers who were heavily favored to go deep into the playoffs were unable to make even the Conference Finals. Regardless, it should be said that at no point did the franchise fail to support their coach. At present the coach has three years remaining on his contract.

A look at Doc Rivers’ time with the 76ers

When Rivers took the reigns from Brett Brown heading into the 2020-21 NBA season, there was a sense that the Sixers were going forward and to be fair the one time NBA All-Star has now led the Sixers to two consecutive Eastern Conference semifinal appearances. There is, however, the feeling that more could be achieved and when taking a look at the kind of talent that the Sixers have on their roster, it almost takes on the form of an expectation. None the less as mentioned before the franchise remains seemingly confident in their coach and his ability to deliver what they want.

“I just think he’s a great coach. I love working with him,” Morey said of Rivers on Friday. “I feel like I’m learning from him. I think Elton [Brand] and I and him make a great team and we’re going to see where this journey takes us. But we feel very good about where it’s going to take us. It’s going to be where we have a very good chance to win a title.”

How is Doc Rivers viewed?

To be frank there are a number of Sixers fans who have been very vocal about the fact that they are not happy with their coach. On the other hand the organization has made it clear that they intend to stick with Rivers, as they view him as the right man for the job. In fairness to the coach, one must consider the fact that initially there was Ben Simmons extended absence followed by his eventual departure, which then led to the task of having to integrate James Harden into the team mid season. In spite of all of that Rivers still brought the team to within touching distance of their first Conference Finals appearance since 2001

It should also be mentioned that where this most recent defeat is concerned, the Sixers were forced to play the first two games of the series against the Heat without their star player, MVP runner-up Joel Embiid. When he did return his impact was immediate, leaving questions about what could have been if the big man were there from the start.

Doc Rivers has his say

When the dust settled on Thursday night following what had to be a heartbreaking loss, Rivers took time to give comment and made it clear that he was unconcerned about his job security. “I don’t worry about my job,” Rivers said. “I think I do a terrific job and if you don’t, you should write it. Because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to go anywhere. Again, this year, the same thing. So if that’s how anyone feels, write it and I’m gonna feel secure about it... I know what I did this year, and I feel very good about it.”

Like it or not, Rivers appears to have a point and it would also appear that Morey and the rest of the organization agree with it. It must be said, however, that should Rivers fail to improve on what was achieved this season one can imagine the pressure will most definitely increase. With Embiid approaching 30, the window is closing which is to say that while the coaching position is now stable, there will definitely be a need to review the roster with a mind to upgrading the positions where they fell down this year. For starters it was apparent that Philadelphia lacked depth in their series with the heat, but to be frank in general as well. Perhaps that’s where Rivers should start now that he’s assured to continue.

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