Doc Rivers was on The Bill Simmons Podcast right after Game 5 of the NBA Finals and got into the inner workings of the Sixers, Joel Embiid, and James Harden. A couple of quotes stood out to me from the interview.

When he was asked if there were any “scars” in the organization from The Process:

“Yeah. You can feel it all through the organization. Elton, when he brought me in that’s what he told me. This is not just about coaching the team, we’re bringing you in here to change the culture and he meant everywhere. We looked through the whole organization. If you’re not on board, if you’re not trying to win, if that’s not what you’re breathing every day, for me it’s time to go and I meant that with everybody in the organization. And overall, I thought we were starting to get it done.”

This is funny because Doc wanted to take some time off from coaching before the Sixers hired him. Doc wants to wax poetic about changing the culture and needing everyone on board, but this is a dude who I don’t believe was ever 100% on board or would do anything to win. The guy loved to play golf during the season any chance he could get. I doubt he was crushing film until 3 a.m. like some of his counterparts around the league. What was he really doing to change the culture and winat all costs? Does a guy who wants to win every single day mention that this was a “schedule loss” during the postgame press conference? Probably not.

On Joel Embiid and what he has to do to take the next step:

I stayed on him daily. He has the ability to make his teammates better. If you look at our games this year when he did that and dominated, it’s hard to go away from Joel Embiid. He’s just got to do that on a consistent basis. Not just on the court, but also off the court. Just be around your guys and spend time with your guys and let them know that you love them because they love you. I thought Jo in the three years, you can see the growth there. We forget how young he is. We also forget his first (two) years he didn’t play. Bill, I’m telling you that sets a tone.”

Embiid is notorious for not hanging out with his teammates and keeping a low profile for a NBA star. I remember Jimmy Butler took the Sixers out to dinner after a game and it was a revelation to teammates that other teams actually do this. So it’s no surprise that Embiid might not be building those relationships with his teammates off the court. Maybe that’s something Nick Nurse can get through to him.

 On what goes wrong with James Harden in the playoffs:

Isn’t it a little on the coach to adjust and make sure teams aren’t taking players out of games? Don’t get me wrong, Harden has his own limitations in the playoffs due to age, mental toughness, and ability. But it kind of sounds like passing the buck from Doc.

Doc also mentioned how challenging it was to coach Harden:

Maybe I’m a Doc hater. Maybe I don’t like guys that can’t look in the mirror and take their share of the blame. I’m just saying the three major quotes that are going to make the rounds on social media are on him too and I didn’t hear much of him shouldering the blame.