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Months After Exit From $3,150,000,000 Worth Franchise, James Harden and Joel Embiid’s Ex-Coach Obliterated by Former All-Star

Published 09/03/2023, 12:49 AM EDT

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Coaching a team to a championship in the NBA is not an easy task. It begins with the exhilarating regular season, followed by the cutthroat postseason that finally ends with the championship. However, when the coach has the likes of James Harden and Joel Embiid in the ranks, this run becomes as facile as ever. Unfortunately for the coach of the $3.15B worth franchise, this was not the case.

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James Harden and Joel Embiid teamed up in 2022, sending shockwaves across the NBA. No one could have imagined this team-up going wrong, until it did. After two back-to-back second round exits, the team’s head coach had to face the axe. Now, he got obliterated by a former All-Star for his failure to secure the championship, despite the talent on the roster.

Ex-coach of James Harden and Joel Embiid faces the heat


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Any roster that the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid and former MVP, James Harden are a part of gets elevated instantaneously. It seemed like the Philadelphia 76ers experienced just that as their hopes for a championship skyrocketed after landing The Beard in a blockbuster trade. However, much to their dismay, they faced the same fate they did four times in the last five years. Interestingly, their former head coach, Doc Rivers is no stranger to this fate.

Doc Rivers coached some of the most talented rosters in the NBA over his career. However, the 61-year-old only has one championship to show for. Given this situation, former All-Star, Gilbert Arenas took jabs at the legendary coach, questioning his championship pedigree.


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“You’ve technically as a coach, had the best talent as a coach. You had the best talent ever as a coach. And got one,” said Arenas on his podcast. He added “You’ve had Top 75, you had some of the greatest players on your team and you have one championship so….we should be looking at that. Are you a good coach? Nah.”

He further mentioned the talent that Rivers possessed on his rosters, saying “You had Embiid. I mean s**t….Embiid, Harden, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and KG, that’s five right there…..I don’t mean to pick but godd**n.” 

Arenas strongly condemned Rivers’ championship pedigree, mentioning the players he coached over the years. In fact, he went as far to say the 61-year-old is not a good coach. However, Rivers has enjoyed a legendary stint as a head coach in the NBA, despite not having a decorated resume. Here’s a look back at what “The Doc”s career looks like after 24 years of coaching.

Rivers resume is not defined by championships

In 24 years of coaching, Doc Rivers only has one championship to show for. Although winning even one championship is an incredible feat, the 61-year-old had better chances of bagging more than several others in the league. This is simply because the rosters he commanded were packed with future Hall of Famers and NBA Top 75 List members.


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Oct 26, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers looks on against the New York Knicks during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rivers won his first and only championship so far in 2008 with the Boston Celtics. This team however, was no ordinary roster. It consisted of one of the first “Big Three”s constructed through trades, teaming up Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with Paul Pierce.

Then came his stint with the Los Angeles Clippers and the “Lob City” trio, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Unfortunately, this stint too, ended in dismay with no championship or even a Finals appearance to show for. Now, after three second round exits with the Sixers, he faced the axe from the franchise and is awaiting his next project.


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Although Rivers did not strike gold as much as he would have wanted, the 61-year-old has led some legendary teams to deep playoff runs. His success may not show a clear picture of his incredible coaching instinct and IQ.

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Written by:

Sachit Kaundinya


One take at a time

Sachit is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for several years and is deeply passionate about the sport and it’s strategic aspects. Combining his passion and desire to stay connected with basketball, Sachit pursued a writing career.
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Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe