Doc Rivers Addresses Speculation Around Job Security With Sixers

Doc Rivers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers

Shortly after being fired by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020, Doc Rivers was hired as the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite Rivers’ reputation, Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett reported that his job could potentially be in jeopardy if the Sixers don’t go on an extended playoff run.

“There is talk in the industry that his Philly future could be in jeopardy if these Sixers don’t make it to the NBA Finals,” Bulpett reported.

Despite the possibility of losing his job, Rivers talked about how he approaches his role as the team’s coach.

“You’ve got to have confidence,” he told Bulpett. “I know I’m doing the job — and that still doesn’t guarantee you win. I know that. That doesn’t mean you deserve to go anywhere, but if that’s what happens, I’m like, OK. That’s how I look at it.”

As a coach, Rivers has not advanced past the second round since 2012 in his second-to-last season with the Boston Celtics. Coincidentally enough, the opponent the Celtics to beat to advance with the Sixers themselves.

Playoff Sucess May Determine if James Harden Stays

It turns out Doc Rivers’ future with the Sixers isn’t the only one that hinges on the Sixers’ playoff success. James Harden staying with the team past this season will also depend on how far the Sixers go.

Adrian Wojnarowski reported on April 19 on “The Woj Pod” that the Sixers’ playoff success will play a role in whether Harden stays with the Sixers or if he goes back to his previous team, the Houston Rockets.

“There’s going to be change there if they don’t – there may be change if they go to the Finals,” Wojnarowski said. “James Harden’s future is very unclear in Philadelphia. Houston is very much in play for him. And I think a lot may depend on [whether] they make a run and win, and it’s easy to pay him long-term big money, or he just wants to be in Houston. Win or lose he goes, or it’s dependent on the team’s success.”

The Sixers have yet to lose a playoff game five games in, and they’ve done this despite not having Joel Embiid for the last two of their five playoff games, so they’re off to a good start.

James Harden Sounds Off on Historic Performance

Harden tied his playoff career-high with 45 points in the Sixers’ Game 1 victory over the Celtics. Harden gave his reaction to his performance after defeating the Sixers’ division rival.

“I haven’t felt one of those zones in a minute,” Harden said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “You know what I mean? Just to be aggressive and shoot the basketball and do what I want.

“That felt really good. … I’m capable of doing it, so it felt good. It felt good to make those shots, to give ourselves a chance.”

During his postgame press conference, Harden talked about how, despite his performance, he didn’t feel as though he needed to make a statement.

“I don’t need to make a statement,” Harden said. “My coaches, my teammates, what they expect me to do all throughout the course of the year was be a facilitator and get Joel the basketball and score when necessary. Joel wasn’t here tonight, you know what I mean? And we knew that going into the series.”