The writing was on the wall for Doc Rivers after the Sixers got blown out in game 7 by the Celtics on Sunday. Whether you blame him or not, there was no way a coach will keep his job after a meltdown like that. Sure enough, Doc Rivers is out as the Sixers’ coach. They dismissed Doc Rivers on Tuesday, ending his 3-year run as the Sixers coach. Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report.
Doc Rivers 3 seasons as the Sixers coach was met with a ton of regular-season success, and very little post-season success. In his first year here he led them to claiming the 1-seed. But then in the 2nd round, they got upset by the Atlanta Hawks. The next season was mired with the Ben Simmons drama. Even still, the Sixers got to 50 wins and claimed the 4 seed. But after beating the Raptors in round 1, they could not get past the 1-seed Miami Heat. And this season was perhaps their best regular season yet. After a slow start, they had the best record in the NBA after Christmas. They swept the Nets to start the playoffs, but we all know what happened in the Celtics series.
What is next for the Sixers? First, they need to find the next head coach. After both Brett Brown and Doc Rivers could not get the Sixers over the 2nd round hump, they will need to find someone pretty special to fix the many issues on this team. A Super Star in Embiid who comes up small in big moments. Plus who knows where James Harden will even be next season?
Woj followed up his initial tweet with a list of candidates the Sixers will target.
The Sixers’ search for a new coach is expected to include Mike Budenholzer, Sam Cassell, Mike D’Antoni, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Monty Williams, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 16, 2023
A lot of interesting names, several of which have won the NBA Finals before. Sam Cassell is the in-house candidate. But both Monty Williams and Mike Budholzer lost their jobs this season after their teams came up small in the playoffs this year. We have seen each of them have post-season success in the past before though.
Doc Rivers being fired is the first move of what will be a decisive off-season. After a loss like that, things need to change. A new head coach may be the first of those changes. But not the last.