Coming into the 2022-23 NBA season the Philadelphia 76ers have lofty expectations. Led by 2022 MVP runner-up Joel Embiid and 2017 NBA MVP James Harden. And with NBA champion head coach Doc Rivers at the helm, this team is expected and was constructed to compete for an NBA championship. But after three games this season they look nothing like championship contenders. And while that’s not really alarming just three games into an 82-game NBA season, it’s not the way they or the fans of the team expected them to start.
The first two losses came on the road at the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics and 2021 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. In the grand scope of things those aren’t bad losses as all. If Sixers have any hopes of getting to the finish line they’ll need to beat teams of the Celtics and Bucks caliber.
But to come out and lay an egg against a San Antonio Spurs team that’s in total rebuild is totally inexcusable. The Sixers are now 0-3, and reeling a bit to begin the season. An animated Doc Rivers had this to say after Saturday’s loss.
“We’re not ready to yet, honestly. We’re just not. We’re not ready to win yet. You can feel that. So, we got a lot of work to do. It was almost like we played these first two games hard, competed, and then felt like, Okay, now we can win some games. You still gotta go out and earn the game. PJ Tucker was yelling that after the game and he was right… You can’t pick and choose when we’re gonna show up.”
That type of mentality is a direct reflection on Rivers, the head coach. It may be saying his message is falling on death ears in the Sixers locker room. Philly fans are calling for Doc’s head and we’re not even a week into the season. They’ve seen this movie of underachievement enough and it seems as if they’re tired.
Sixers And Rivers Are Habitual Underachievers:
In his career as a head coach no one has blown more 3-1 series leads, doing it three times. Once in Orlando and twice with the Clippers. The latter cost his team’s a chance at playing in the conference finals. As his 2021-22 Sixers team raced to a 3-0 lead over the undermanned Toronto Raptors before dropping two straight games, and then closing them out in six games, Rivers was ready with his different reasons as to why his teams have struggled in blowing those type leads.
Rivers is an old-school coach who for years did seem to adapt his coaching style to today’s players. Not so much in the last few seasons, and it’s beginning to show early on this season. While he’s well-respected around there’s no way a team with Embiid and Harden should ever be 0-3, with two home losses. It’s an indictment on Doc first and the players second. And, yes there’s plenty of time to turn things around, and the roster is too talented not too. But it’s championship or bust in Philly and this team looks nothing of such.
Eagles And Phillies Success Don’t Make It Easier:
Right now is the absolute worst time to be struggling in Philly sports. With the surprising Phillies a win away from the World Series. And the Eagles the lone remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, the Sixers being winless in three game doesn’t look good in a city of winners.
More pressure to turn things around and fast, or team president Daryl Morey might be forced to rid of Doc and promote Sam Cassell to the first seat in Philly.