The 76ers fired coach Doc Rivers, the team announced Tuesday, after Philadelphia fell to the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Sixers’ semifinal loss marked the sixth consecutive year they reached the postseason but failed to advance to the second round.
- Rivers led Philadelphia to a 154-82 record in the regular season and 20-15 in the playoffs over three seasons.
- Philadelphia hasn’t reached the conference finals since 2001.
The 76ers fired coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday. @shamcharania confirms.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 16, 2023
The AtletiImmediate analysis of c:
What does this say about the Sixers franchise?
There are many reasons why the Sixers decided on Rivers, but the precedent for this franchise already existed. Brett Brown had three legitimate chances to take the Joel Embiid-led Sixers in the second round of the playoffs, and after he failed to do so, he was released in 2020. After the Sixers’ Game 7 loss in Boston, Rivers found himself. Same situation: 0 for 3. Reasonable minds can’t agree on how wrong Rivers was in a series that saw his two best players struggle in crucial moments, but he was brought to Philadelphia to carry the Sixers even further. was It didn’t happen.
There’s still a ton of uncertainty. Rivers said after Game 7 that he planned to come back and had two years left on his contract, but at that point, the writing was on the wall. — Hoffman
What Philadelphia’s Stars Said About Rivers
When asked about Rivers after the Sixers lost in Game 7, the team’s two star players gave very different answers. Embiid called Rivers “fantastic,” adding, “Look at the way he handled the whole (Ben Simmons) situation we had a year or two ago, he kept the team afloat. He’s been a great leader for all of us, a great motivator.
But James Harden took a different tack when asked if the coach should return, saying, “Our relationship is fine.” Felt like a short answer at this point. With Harden teetering as a free agent this summer and risking a flight to Houston, it’s unlikely both Harden and Rivers will be back with the Sixers next year. The question now is whether the duo will return to Philly for the 2023-24 season. — Hoffman
Rivers, 61, was hired by Philadelphia in 2020 with the expectation that his championship experience would help the Sixers push past the postseason hurdles under previous coach Brett Brown. Instead, those shortcomings persisted despite significant roster overhauls.
Under Rivers, the Sixers traded Simmons to the Nets in a deal for Harden, Embiid was developed into an MVP, Tyrese Maxey was drafted into a reliable 20-point scorer and the team rounded out its roster with veterans like PJ Tucker and Montresl. Harrell and Jalen McDaniels.
Through 2008, when he coached Boston, Rivers-led teams had reached the playoffs in 15 of the past 16 seasons. But since 2010, when the Celtics reached the NBA Finals, a Rivers-led team advanced to the second round.
Rivers stepped down as the Clippers’ coach in 2020 after the team lost in the semifinals. The following year, under new coach Ty Lue, LA reached its first conference finals in franchise history.
(Photo: Winslow Townson/USA Today)