Doc Rivers is the head coach of the Boston Celtics and has been with them for over a decade. With their playoff matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks nearing, he gave an interview to ESPN about his team’s prospects going into postseason play.
The fresh new appearance For more over two months, the Philadelphia 76ers have been together. Despite the fact that James Harden hasn’t played every night, he’s had 21 games to get to know his new teammates and figure out how to play alongside MVP contender Joel Embiid.
However, with the playoffs approaching, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made some troubling remarks, indicating that his squad still has some issues to iron out.
The 76ers are under a lot of pressure to go far in the playoffs.
During a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers discusses with James Harden | Harry How/Getty Images
In the Embiid era, the 76ers have never approached the playoffs with greater burden on their shoulders. When Philly traded Ben Simmons for Harden at the NBA trade deadline, the stakes were suddenly raised to championship or bust.
In a few months, Harden will be 33. Embiid is 28 years old. At any time, any or both of them may be beyond their prime. We’re already witnessing some of Harden’s regression. The once-nimble shooting guard now finds it difficult to get past defenders and take advantage of mismatches in isolation. He’s also never shot worse than he has this season from three-point range (33 percent ).
It’s conceivable that The Beard’s persistent hamstring issue is still limiting him, but it’s more probable that his athletic peak has passed him by and it’s all downhill from here. That’s a problem for the 76ers, who will have to evaluate if Harden is worth signing a new deal this summer.
In terms of Embiid, the Sixers have matched him with Jimmy Butler, a seasoned leader who demands the ball late in games, Simmons, a pass-first defensive specialist, and now Harden, a ball-dominant guard who, on theory, is the ideal offensive combination with the center. If Act III follows the same pattern as the past two, Embiid’s chances of winning a championship may be slim.
For the 76ers, it’s now or never, and despite not having had a complete season to gel, Embiid and Harden can’t use chemistry as an excuse for yet another early departure.
This season, Embiid and Harden have played 21 games together. The 76ers are 14-7 in those games. When Embiid and Harden are on the floor together, Philadelphia has a 125.75 offensive rating. The Utah Jazz, for example, have a 116.2 offensive rating this season, which leads the NBA.
Although it seems like Embiid and Harden are getting along swimmingly on the court, Rivers believes they still need time to gel, and he is grateful that the NBA Play-In Tournament is providing his team that opportunity.
According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rivers told reporters last week, “I believe this is pretty excellent.” “Perhaps [things would have been different] if I had been together.” If you’re Golden State or Milwaukee, I’m sure you’d be eager to get started. They’ve already figured out what they’re going to do. But, in this situation, I believe it is beneficial to us. As a result, I enjoy it.”
So you’re saying you haven’t figured out what you’re doing? Doc, it’s been two months.
Harden, on the other hand, isn’t up to speed yet, according to Rivers.
Rivers stated, “I believe he’s getting it.” “I don’t believe any of us have arrived yet.” We’re working on it, however. “We’re still working on it.”
Is it still a work in progress? The first game against the Toronto Raptors will take place on Saturday. At this stage in the season, you can’t afford to be a work in progress. For the Sixers, this is a make-or-break playoffs. If their relationship still isn’t where it needs to be, Philly’s postseason run might be cut short once again.
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