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Joel Embiid, Sixers HC Doc Rivers offers sage advice to NBA coaches after Suns abrupt Monty Williams’ firing: “Don’t win coach of the year”

Doc Rivers

Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers had some sage advice for NBA coaches after the Phoenix Suns abruptly fired Monty Williams less than two years after he was named Coach of the Year. “Don’t win coach of the year, I’m telling you. It doesn’t go well historically,” Rivers said, according to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.

Williams led the Suns to the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season, their first Finals appearance in almost 30 years. However, after losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs, the Suns’ new owner Mat Ishbia decided to let go of Williams. Rivers, a longtime friend of Williams, expressed disappointment with the decision and offered his insight on the situation.

The Philadelphia coach’s advice may come across as snarky, but it is rooted in a long-standing trend in the NBA. Winning Coach of the Year seems to be a curse of sorts, as many coaches who have won the award in the past have been fired soon after. Rivers himself won Coach of the Year in his first season with the Orlando Magic in 2000 but was fired just four years later.

While Williams’ dismissal was not directly linked to his Coach of the Year win, the move raises questions about the value of the award and its impact on a coach’s job security. Rivers’ comments suggest that winning Coach of the Year could be seen as a sign of overachievement, leading to higher expectations that are difficult to meet.

In the NBA, expectations are high, and job security is low. Coaches are constantly under pressure to deliver results, and even the slightest misstep can lead to a pink slip. Williams’ firing serves as a reminder that even the most successful coaches can be let go in the blink of an eye. Rivers’ advice may seem cynical, but it is also a reminder of the harsh reality of coaching in the NBA.

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Doc Rivers’ Postseason Struggles Continue: A Look at His Record in Game 7s

Despite being named one of the 15 greatest coaches in NBA history and holding a top 10 spot on the all-time wins list in both the regular season and playoffs, Doc Rivers has struggled to consistently close out postseason series that reach a Game 7. The 61-year-old suffered yet another Game 7 loss on Sunday, as the Celtics dominated the 76ers to capture a 112-88 win and send Philadelphia into an uncertain offseason.

Rivers’ record in Game 7s now stands at 6-10, with the most Game 7 losses of any coach in NBA history. He has never won a Game 7 on the road and has lost his last five Game 7s (in 2015, 2017, 2020, 2021, and 2023) by an average of 14.4 points. The last time a Rivers-led team won a Game 7 was in 2015 when the Clippers eliminated the Spurs in the first round.

While Rivers’ regular season success cannot be denied, his postseason struggles in Game 7s are becoming a concern. The 76ers, who had the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, will now have to regroup and try to figure out how to advance further in the playoffs with Rivers at the helm.

Despite his impressive coaching resume, it seems that Rivers still has work to do to find postseason success in decisive Game 7 situations.

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