Will the 76ers fire Doc Rivers? Latest news, updates on Philadelphia coach's status after playoff exit
The Doc may not be in for much longer.
The 76ers were handed an ugly 112-88 loss at the hands of the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and head coach Doc Rivers is bearing the brunt of the blame for the loss.
While it's hard to truly divvy up blame between players and coaches for unfortunate ends to their season, Rivers has developed a reputation for being unable to close playoff series and take talented teams to the next level.
MORE: Doc Rivers' Game 7 record — Ugly marks for Philadelphia head coach
While he has helped coach teams to playoff appearances in 19 seasons at the helm of a franchise, success beyond the regular season hasn't quite been there. In all, Rivers-coached teams have made the conference finals just three times, with a 1-2 record in those series.
While Rivers does have a ring, 2008 is further and further in the rearview mirror — and it might not be enough to save his job in Philadelphia, or land a new one should he get his walking papers in the coming days.
Here's the latest on Rivers' job status in Philly:
Will the 76ers fire Doc Rivers?
It's unclear how shaky Rivers' footing is with the 76ers, but the coach seems to be willing to run it back with Philadelphia in 2023 and beyond.
When asked if he was planning on coaching the team in 2023, Rivers said he wasn't expecting to be elsewhere.
Doc Rivers says he plans to be the coach of the Sixers going forward: “I think I have two years left.” pic.twitter.com/JfH8lJOSz9— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) May 14, 2023
"Yeah, I think I got two years left," Rivers said, referencing his contract with the team. When Rivers was asked a follow-up surrounding the firing of championship-winning coaches, he said he was aware of the landscape.
"No one's safe in our business, and I get that," he said.
The 76ers' superstars, Joel Embiid and James Harden, also weighed in on Rivers' job security, offering differing levels of support to their coach.
On Doc Rivers, Embiid says "I don't know ... I think he has done a fantastic job. We have gotten better over the years. I don't make the decisions. I think he should be fine ... he has been a great leader for all of us." Notes the run of firings of quality coaches lately. "I'm…— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) May 14, 2023
"I think he has done a fantastic job," Embiid said. "We have gotten better over the years. I don't make the decisions. I think he should be fine."
Harden didn't offer as strong an endorsement as Embiid. When asked about their relationship, Harden was short.
James Harden on his relationship with Doc Rivers. Not the strongest of endorsements here after a brutal Game 7 loss.— David Grzybowski (@DavidGrzyTV) May 14, 2023
“Our relationship is ok.” pic.twitter.com/qqjn4NHfXG
MORE: Why Joel Embiid's 'We can't win alone' quote isn't what it sounds like
Doc Rivers playoff coaching record
In 23 seasons as a head coach, Rivers has a playoff record of 111-104 (.516 winning percentage) across four franchises and 19 postseason appearances total. In fact, Rivers didn't win his first series as a head coach until the Celtics' NBA Finals run in 2008.
Rivers hasn't made it past the conference semifinals since the 2012 playoffs with the Celtics, when they lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami would win the Larry O'Brien Trophy that year.
Here's Rivers' playoff record, year-by-year, since he was hired by the Magic in 2000:
|Year||Team||Playoff wins||Playoff losses|
|2014||Los Angeles Clippers||6||7|
|2015||Los Angeles Clippers||7||7|
|2016||Los Angeles Clippers||2||4|
|2017||Los Angeles Clippers||3||4|
|2018||Los Angeles Clippers||—||—|
|2019||Los Angeles Clippers||2||4|
|2020||Los Angeles Clippers||7||6|
Has Doc Rivers won a championship?
Rivers does have a championship ring — but it came when Joel Embiid was 14 years old. Rivers guided the 2007-08 Celtics to the team's 17th championship, a win over their arch-rivals, the Lakers.
That is the only ring that Rivers holds as a coach or a player.
Doc Rivers record in closeout games
Rivers' biggest flaw as a coach is his reputation of being unable to help teams he's coached to close out series.
In total, Rivers is 17-33 in games when his team has an opportunity to close out a playoff series. Rivers' 33 losses are the most for any coach in NBA history.
In addition to Rivers' 17-33 record in close-out games, he holds a few other unfortunate NBA records:
- Has lost seven series when leading 3-2;
- Has lost Game 7 a total of 10 times, and hasn't won a Game 7 since 2015;
- Has lost 12 series when his team as held a lead.
Doc Rivers has a 6-10 record in Game 7s, including 5 straight losses.— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) May 14, 2023
That's the most Game 7 losses of any coach in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/zRtg1I9DUB