The Knicks’ 2022-23 season came to an unfortunate end on Friday at the hands of the Miami Heat. But hey, it could’ve been a lot worse. They could’ve gotten eliminated from the NBA Playoffs like the Philadelphia 76ers did.
After failing to close the door on the Celtics in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, Philly was sent packing after an embarrassing Game 7 loss. That also led to head coach Doc Rivers losing his job after being in charge of the Sixers for the past three seasons.
There are a handful of NBA head-coaching jobs available now, but not one in New York. Should the Knicks consider replacing Tom Thibodeau with Rivers? Based on everything we know, that sounds like a very bad idea. But, it’s something WFAN’s Tiki Barber thinks is necessary for some reason.
Here’s part of what he said on WFAN‘s Tiki and Tierney:
Doc is a very interesting head coach. He’s got a championship, hasn’t always been known as an elite play caller, but he connects generally well with his teams. If the Knicks moved on from Thibs, would Doc fit here?
Yea, he’s got a championship under his belt, but it came nearly two decades ago! And, he did it with a roster that was expected to do so, as Boston also employed Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics got back to the NBA Finals two years later during the 2009-10 season, but that’s the extent of Rivers’ playoff accomplishments.
What he’s done during the regular season is impressive. He’s racked up nearly 1,100 wins and a .590 winning percentage since his first gig in Orlando during the 1999-00 season. Rivers has also watched his teams accumulate at least 50 wins on 10 different occasions.
But, this isn’t the answer for the Knicks. Not only does it not seem like Thibs is on the hot seat, but Rivers’ recent playoff appearances shouldn’t lead James Dolan to sprint to his phone to chat with the veteran coach.
Rivers couldn’t help Philly escape the Eastern Semis in any of his three seasons at the helm. And he’s not the guy you want in charge of your team in a do-or-die game. His most recent loss brings his career record in Game 7s to 6-10, including five losses in a row. Those 10 Game 7 losses are the most for any coach in NBA history.
And, yes — it’s true that Rivers can’t actually get on the floor to play during these crucial moments. But there’s enough evidence here to prove that he wouldn’t be a fit at Madison Square Garden.
Brandon Tierney said what probably every Knicks fan was thinking after hearing Tiki make that comment:
He’s the biggest choker in the history of coaching. Nobody has blown more 3-1 series leads than that guy. And forget about game seven. In game six, did you know Joel Embiid didn’t touch the ball in the final five minutes? That’s on the coach.
He wouldn’t even enter my radar of possibility. No way. Mark Jackson before him, Budenholzer before him.
Thank you for your service, sir. Rivers to New York was probably never going to happen in the first place. Let’s hope Dolan didn’t hear Tiki talk about it and get any ideas, though.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.