Larry Brown turned in six seasons, which, excluding Billy Cunningham’s seven-year run, is the longest tenure since the team moved to Philadelphia from Syracuse. Since then the Sixers have averaged a coach a year, had two seasons in which they had two coaches and two other one-and-done tenures after Eddie Jordan’s quick departure.
In fact, hang around the Wachovia Center on game day and you can see a whole bunch of former head coaches for the Sixers working for the team in one capacity or another. Hell, two of them (Jim Lynam and Randy Ayers) served as assistant coaches, while Tony DiLeo (senior vice president and assistant general manager) and Chris Ford (scout) aren’t too tough to find at a ballgame.
Regardless, if a team has eight coaches in eight years, chances are those guys aren’t the real problem. Maybe the guys selecting the players and the coaches have been victims of bad luck, advice or basketball theories. Either way, Philadelphia is a good place for a coach to start and end a career in a relatively short time.
Aside from that, it’s strange that anyone would want the job after what has occurred since Brown left. Certainly there will be a bunch of guys climbing over each other to get the gig simply because there aren’t too many NBA head coaching jobs out there, but really… what a mess. Baring some sort of miraculous infusion of talent/injection into the current players on the roster, or maybe the free-agent signing (for cheap) of the guy from the movie, Flubber, the Sixers aren’t going to be very good next year, either.
But if there is an interesting caveat, it’s this: Samuel Dalembert will play for his eighth coach. If Dalembert plays for the 76ers next season, it will be nine seasons in the NBA with eight different coaches all for just one team.
How does that happen?
“I tell my friends around the league about it and they laugh at me,” Dalembert told reporters on Thursday.
Then again it could come full circle for Dalembert. Though the Sixers deny all the chatter and rumors, there is a report out there that Brown has been given permission by his boss in Charlotte, Michael Jordan, to talk to the Sixers about running things. Really though, is Larry Brown the answer?
Sure, the Sixers have had just one season above .500 since Brown left, but unless he has cap room and/or a trade partner to take some big contracts off his hands, the team is in a perfect spot to get young and grow. And as we know, youthful, inexperienced ballplayers suffer through a lot of growing pains. Knowing Brown’s track record with young players and for not sticking around in one place for too long, there are better choices.
In other words, a young, up-and-coming coach who is given enough time and patience to push the team in the proverbial right direction is the way to go. Forget about recycling a familiar name, or getting into the cronyism that helped Jordan land the job in the first place—the Sixers really need to think unconventionally.
And then they need to step back and give the guy a chance.
Why not call up Brad Stevens, the 33-year-old coach who took Butler to the NCAA Championship a couple of weeks ago? He probably won’t take the gig, but at least it shows original thought for a change.
Yeah, we could go on and on with names of young and promising coaches in basketball, but it won’t do anything to change the fact that the NBA may as well be a European soccer league the way Philadelphians care about it. Just think about all the kids growing up following every team but the one in their home town.
Seven coaches in eight years makes it tough for anyone to climb on board.