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Mailbag: When will the Sixers move on from Doc Rivers?

It’s been a bumpy ride.

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Welcome to my first Liberty Ballers mailbag this season! I think the last time that I did a mailbag for LB, I was asked if the Sixers should trade up for Mark L. Fultz and I made the case that the Sixers should sign Carmelo Anthony to be a bench gunner in the 2017 Joe Johnson mold. Time flies when your favorite team is embarrassing you at every turn.

If you would like to ask a question for a future mailbag, you can tweet at me or send an email to libertyballersinfo@gmail.com.

@idontknowwhy94: When do we get rid of Doc?

With Ben Simmons, uh, not playing right now, that main target of fans’ aggression is no longer here to shield Doc Rivers’ woes.

There’s always a “chicken or the egg” scenario when it comes to criticizing coaches. Is it the players’ fault? Is it the coach’s fault? The Sixers are playing without their second-highest paid player and, as I wrote last week, are visibly missing a hole in their rotation at point guard.

Actual player talent is the most important thing in sports. That, of course, doesn’t keep coaches free from criticism. If you look across the street from the Wells Fargo Center, it’s more than fair to wreck Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni for his screen-heavy play-calling and his bizarre rant about photosynthesis despite the Eagles already being a clear subpar team.

The Sixers are in a rough spot. Simmons is out. Joel Embiid is needlessly playing through injury and struggling. Does that mean Rivers is immune from criticism? No. He felt like the biggest reason the Sixers collapsed against the Nets in their home opener, as Brooklyn didn’t take their first lead of the night until the final minute of the game. As much as Sixers fans (rightfully) crush Simmons for what a disaster he was in the Hawks playoff series this past summer, a coach whose team combusted and lost multiple gigantic leads shouldn’t be given a pass.

Where do the Sixers go from here with their second-year head coach?

Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey was brought in after the Sixers hired Rivers last year. Yes, their relationship seems fine, but that doesn’t exactly make him Morey’s guy. If the Sixers burn out this season, with or without Simmons, failing to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the 21st consecutive season, heads are going to need to roll. Hell, if we’re getting into the new year and the Sixers are lagging in the bottom half of the playoff standings, does Morey dare try to light a fire under the team’s ass by canning Rivers and making someone, say Sam Cassell or Dave Joerger, the interim coach for the remainder of the season?

I have the feeling that this will be Rivers’ last season in Philadelphia.

@rynej__: top 3 best things to do when the Sixers are on other than watch the Sixers

  1. Go see Dune in IMAX. What a cinematic experience.
  2. Go pet a dog. It can be your dog or a dog you see walking down the street (ask whomever is walking the dog if it’s okay to do so). We all need the endorphin rush of seeing a dog.
  3. Drink until you can’t remember the Sixers’ head coach’s name.

@Gregular_Greg: How hopeless is the team as currently constructed?

There’s nothing worse for me than when covering a team I love feels more like work than fun. Yes, this is my job and “work” is an essential element of anyone’s job, but what I take solace in when it comes to the rocky world of sports media is that I truly love what I do and am thankful that I have the privilege of doing this.

The team is boring right now and they don’t seem particularly great. That’s not a good combination! I need December 14 to come quickly in the hopes that Morey, in his second year in Philly, continues to retool this roster. It sure as hell needs a retooling.