Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers came into this year’s NBA playoffs with title aspirations.
Not only did they ultimately fail to claim a championship, but they didn’t even make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
As a result, Rivers was fired. The combination of Philly’s lack of evolution when it matters most and his awful relationship with James Harden was too much to overcome.
Last week, Rivers sat down with Bill Simmons on his podcast and broke down why Embiid and the 76ers struggled the way they did in the playoffs.
“Number one, he has to be healthy,” Rivers said.
“If you look at his numbers in the last three years in the playoffs, compared to his regular season numbers, they’re not very good… The first year I had him, he hurts his knee.
“The next year, he hits his face and tears ligaments in his hand, and then this year he has a knee injury and he was never the same once he came back this year. So health is No. 1.”
That being said, Rivers highlighted a second issue that plagued Embiid and the Sixers during the postseason.
“Number two for Jo is he’s got to make all his players better in the playoffs,” Rivers continued.
“He has the ability to make his teammates better and when he does it, if you look at our games this year when he did that and dominated, hard to go away from Joel Embiid. It really is.
“He’s just got to do that on a consistent basis. Not just on the court, but also off the court. Just be around the guys and spend time with your guys and let them know that you love them because they love you.”
Rivers talked about a number of interesting things with Simmons, including the role Harden played in his firing.
What a week for the Philadelphia Eagles. https://t.co/9wY9yWpElC
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 17, 2023
Big picture, at the end of the day, Rivers was brought in to coach Embiid in a way that would lead to a championship being won.
He didn’t end up doing that.
Is some of that on Embiid? Sure. But Rivers didn’t do his job either, and that’s why he is no longer with the 76ers.