In a recent episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the known Celtics/Jokic stan had former Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers as his latest guest.
They talked about various topics, but let’s dive into the one making waves on Sixer’s Twitter: his relationship with and thoughts on James Harden.
Here’s a direct quote from the episode:
Doc Rivers says it was ‘challenging’ coaching James Harden
“It was challenging. More because we were fighting two things, and not like visually fighting. James was so good at playing one way, and the way I believe you have to play to win, in some ways is different because it’s… pic.twitter.com/ViTt8JfyVC
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 13, 2023
Doc Rivers was hating on Embiid and Harden a lot in the Bill Simmons podcast. Now, the duo certainly should’ve played better at times against the Celtics fosho. But, let’s not ignore the fact that Doc had no movement on offense, and teams could guard Embiid so easily. He caught… pic.twitter.com/e4NV3yZcIw
— Aidan LaPorta (@aidanlaporta69) June 13, 2023
These comments have set Sixers’ Twitter into a frenzy, calling Doc Rivers stubborn and saying he can never accept responsibility.
When this is not true, Sixers’ fans blame him for the lack of movement within the offense.
Listening to this Bill Simmons/Doc Rivers interview…
All i can say is… Doc thinks he’s perfect. He thinks he knows everything. He lacks accountability.
Everything we already thought we knew about Doc, comes to life in this interview.
Makes me step off of Harden’s neck a bit.…
— Scotty – Sixers in 7 🌅 (@ScottyDrowned) June 13, 2023
But where is the lie? It is no secret that James Harden may be the greatest isolated scorer in NBA history.
He is the greatest isolated player in NBA history. In case you missed it, the word isolated was used twice.
Doc perfectly details why someone like Steph Curry has had more success than someone like Harden when he says:
“And so, in the playoffs, when teams are game-planning against you each game, double-teaming, taking the ball out of your hand, making it harder, it’s easier to do that to James compared to taking — how do you take Steph [Curry] out of the game? He’s running around, moving; it’s hard, you know. … It was the movement and the inability to find where you could trap them that made it so hard. And I think that’s James’ Kryptonite right now.”
There’s a reason Harden has had a lot of all-time great postseason games, and then there are times when he made zero impact on the game whatsoever. He needs the ball in his hands to be effective. In terms of a play-style perspective, there is no reason this late in his career to believe that there is no other reason why he hasn’t won a championship. When people say James Harden has changed his game, please show me where? He is a high pick-and-roll player who either gets his matchup, goes one v. one, passes off to the side, and stands at the top of the key waiting for the ball back.
I always think about an interview the late Kobe Bryant was a part of back in 2019 when Harden was averaging 36 points per game and was on the most ridiculous scoring streak in modern NBA history.
Yet he had this to say.
Maybe I see things differently, but to me, this is another true statement about Harden that, for some reason, Sixers Twitter is upset about because we know we have no other option to compete if we don’t resign him.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing my opinions that Harden was the driving force in Doc getting fired and how he had Daryl Morey on a string. Morey has always admired Harden because he was the one who truly discovered Harden’s potential. Morey claimed in his press conference that he decided to fire Doc Rivers and his only.
Well, we know that isn’t true with this recent report.
Doc Rivers was not a good coach in the City of Brother Love for the most part. Yet, for some reason, people don’t understand that you coach to your best players’ skill sets. Harden’s and Embiids are isolated scoring.
While you may not like it, he is right about James Harden.