Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
There is reportedly some doubt regarding the future of Doc Rivers as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Appearing Friday on NBA Today, ESPN NBA insider Ramona Shelburne said, “Everyone around the league that I’ve talked to said let’s keep an eye on this one,” regarding Rivers’ status in Philly.
Shelburne’s report came on the heels of Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey giving Rivers a vote of confidence Friday.
During a season-ending press conference, Morey was asked if he could assure fans and media members that Rivers would be back as head coach next season, and he responded, “Yes.”
Morey also called Rivers a “great coach” and noted that he has loved working with him.
The 76ers’ 2021-22 season came to an end Thursday when they fell to the Miami Heat 99-90 in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series, marking the fifth consecutive season that the Sixers were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round or earlier.
Philadelphia hired Rivers prior to the 2020-21 season as the replacement for Brett Brown, who was fired after a first-round playoff exit. That move was made shortly before the Sixers hired Morey on the heels of a long run in the Houston Rockets’ front office.
The 60-year-old Rivers is among the most accomplished head coaches in NBA history, posting a career regular-season record of 1,043-735 in 23 seasons, which equates to a .587 winning percentage.
Rivers has spent time as head coach of the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sixers, and during that time he has made 18 playoff appearances with two trips to the NBA Finals and one championship.
With Rivers at the helm, the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008 and then went back to the Finals two years later. His teams have made just one conference finals appearance since then, however.
The switch from Brown to Rivers was made with an eye toward making a deep playoff run, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Rivers did lead the Sixers to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season with a 49-23 record, but they fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round.
This season, Philadelphia went 51-31 and secured the No. 4 seed before falling to the top-seeded Heat in the second round.
Unless James Harden declines his player option and tests free agency, the Sixers are set to return largely the same core next season with Harden, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris leading the way.
It could prove difficult to make any major changes to the roster, meaning a coaching change would perhaps be the easiest way to shake things up.
However, if that doesn’t happen, the pressure will be on for Rivers to make a deeper run next season.