Doc Rivers Gets Honest About James Harden’s Role In His Firing

Doc Rivers Gets Honest About James Harden’s Role In His Firing

Doc Rivers was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason following three decent, albeit somewhat underwhelming, years with the organization.

Philly did not reach the Eastern Conference Finals in any of those seasons.

One of the key problems that the Sixers faced under Rivers’ reign was his continued inability to get on the same page as James Harden.

The pair bumped heads early and often – culminating in Harden essentially signing Rivers’ death warrant with his comments following this year’s playoffs.

Harden role in Rivers’ firing has been covered ad nauseam at this point.

During a recent appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast, Rivers broke down in great detail why he and Harden simply couldn’t get on the same page.

“It was challenging,” Rivers admitted.

“More because we were fighting two things … and not like visually fighting. It’s that James is so good at playing one way and the way I believe you have to play to win, in some ways, is different because it’s a lot of giving up the ball, moving the ball and coming back to the ball.

“I would’ve loved to have him younger, when that was easier for him, because giving up the ball and coming back to it is hard. It’s physical and it’s exhausting.”

As far as Rivers is concerned, if Harden had continued playing in the second half of the season the way he did in the first, things might have turned out differently.

“I thought the first half of the year we were the best team in the game,” Rivers continued.

“I thought James was playing perfect basketball … he was a point guard of the team, he was still scoring — but he was doing more playmaking and scoring. And then the second half he started scoring more and I thought we got more stagnant at times. I thought we changed.”

Harden and Rivers both come with a certain amount of baggage.

Both have proven as much during their stops with other teams.

Will either man be able to find a winning situation going forward now that they don’t have to deal with each other anymore? Time will tell.

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Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.
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