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When the Philadelphia 76ers dropped their Game 6 matchup at home against the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs last Thursday night, many began to question whether the team would move on from its head coach or not.

Doc Rivers was hired following the Brett Brown era for one reason; that's to get the team over the second-round hump and into the NBA Finals.

Through two seasons, Rivers hasn't been able to accomplish that. So, after the Sixers went out of the playoffs disappointingly for the second-straight year, Rivers had to field a question about his future as the team's head coach. He responded accordingly.

“I don't worry about my job, but I think I do a terrific job," said Rivers last Thursday. "And if you don't, then you should write it because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to be anywhere. And again this year, the same thing. So if that's how anyone feels, write it, and I'm gonna feel secure about it.”

Rivers felt his job remained secure after Philly's Game 6 loss. The following afternoon, the team's President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey, had to answer the same questions with Rivers by his side.

“Yes,” said Morey when asked if Doc Rivers would coach the 76ers in 2022-2023. “Now, different question.”

A few minutes later, Morey elaborated on his decision to continue working with Rivers rather than taking the organization in a different direction.

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“He's a great coach,” Morey explained. “I love working with him. I feel like I'm learning from him. You know, I think Elton, Doc, and I make a great team. We're gonna see where this journey takes us, but we feel very good about where it's gonna take us, and it's gonna be where we have a very good chance to have the title.”

Nobody expected Morey to make a franchise-altering decision with the public watching and Doc Rivers sitting next to him, but a report from Philly Voice's Kyle Neubeck hints that Morey wasn't putting on a front.

Looking to Finish What They Started

“Reports have tumbled out in the hours since Philadelphia’s Game 6 defeat billing Rivers’ return as conditional, based on meetings the team might have with him and the priorities of all involved. Sources who spoke to PhillyVoice have asserted there is no such plan on the organization’s part. The Sixers see Rivers as their coach moving forward, and there has been little debate about whether or not to keep him, as Morey’s press conference answer further drove home on Friday afternoon”

Doc Rivers, like many within the Sixers' organization, deserves blame for his team's shortcomings in the playoffs.

However, Philadelphia's postseason struggles go beyond the head coach. Not only was the team's personnel beyond the stars questionable going deeper into the playoffs, but so was the overall execution. 

Rivers' leash might be significantly shorter going into the 2022-2023 season, but it seems he's at least guaranteed to be back on the Sixers' bench next season.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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