Here I am logging on at 11:41 p.m. on a Friday to share this ridiculous video.
It comes from Doc Rivers’ postgame press conference, after the Sixers blew a 24-point lead in a home loss to a Clippers team missing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George:
“What part of this loss was coaching?”
Doc: “HOW DARE YOU ASK THE GREAT DOC RIVERS THAT!” pic.twitter.com/AUEHfunROl
— Kyle (@Kylesphine) January 22, 2022
The guy asking the question is Austin Krell from The Painted Lines and USA Today. The question is mostly fine. He could probably have rephrased it, or softened it a bit to make it less direct, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong topically with asking a coach what they could have done better in a game that his or her team should have finished with relative ease. In this case, the Sixers really sputtered down the stretch as Ty Lue coached circles around Doc.
That being said, a couple of thoughts:
- “Would you ask Pop that question?” is a crazy comment for several reasons. First, Gregg Popovich has five titles, is the three-time NBA coach of the year, and just won Olympic gold in Tokyo. Doc won a ring and has plenty of accolades, but he’s not Gregg Popovich. And the thought that Austin wouldn’t ask Pop the same question is completely asinine. If Pop coached in Philly and his team continually lost home games to undermanned squads, he would be asked the same thing.
- “I’ve earned that” is tone deaf at best, arrogant at worst. With all due respect to Doc Rivers, Sixers fans don’t give a flying fuck that he won a ring with three Hall of Famers fourteen years ago. They care about winning in Philly in 2022 and getting a talented team over the hump after last year’s hideous playoff exit. They care about a coach with a recent history of blowing series leads fixing that problem and doing an adequate job.
- To piggy back off that, the thought that a coach or player is somehow exempt from hard questions or legitimate challenges is totally bananas. Doc is essentially saying that he’s been around long enough and done enough in the league in order to warrant a free fucking pass.
I don’t know what it is with Doc and these combative media exchanges. He’s got this team playing pretty well and staying competitive in the Eastern Conference despite the farcical Ben Simmons holdout situation. Doc did a fantastic job getting this team home court and the #1 seed last year and it’s always important to give proper credit where it’s due and try not to be overly “Negadelphia.”
But he’s also butted heads with us on several funky occasions, and I honestly believe that the Sixers’ media corps has been 100% fair to him since his arrival. He is rarely asked unfair or challenging questions, and still occasionally drops some kind of “you don’t know ball” or similarly-condescending response, as if we’re the scum of the Earth. My personal favorite was when he totally dissed me for asking if he’d take Ben Simmons off the floor to prevent the hack-a-Ben routine, only to do exactly that two games later. What a crock of overflowing horse shit that was.
Doc has been around long enough to know that all you have to do is fake some accountability here. All he really has to say is, “yeah listen, we all have to do a better job.. I need to be better, we need to close better, we’ll get back to work and try to get better every day” and blah blah blah. Woop dee fuckin’ doo. Instead, he sits at the table and gives off these vibes of infallibility, like the almighty Doc Rivers can never be questioned.
The Sixers have a good PR staff. Hopefully Doc will listen when they tell him “listen, just dial this shit back, because it rubs people the wrong way.”