Every NBA coaching hire between now and next season, in a theoretical sense, has an impact on the 76ers. The NBA now has four head-coaching openings after the Brooklyn Nets made the stunning move Thursday of hiring Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash.
Besides the Sixers, the other teams with head-coaching vacancies are Chicago, Indiana and New Orleans, In all the stories on potential NBA head coaches to be hired, Nash’s name usually couldn’t be found, most likely because he had no prior coaching experience.
It will be interesting to see if the Sixers are willing to follow suit and hire an out-of-the-box replacement for Brett Brown.
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What if Nash landed in Philly?
It was in the cramped visitors locker room at Madison Square Garden after the Sixers had defeated the New York Knicks, 90-87, on Jan. 18, when Nash was briefly holding court with the media. Nash had been seen a few minutes earlier talking to Ben Simmons, one point guard admiring another.
“Ben’s a generational talent,” Nash said later to the media. “Crazy athlete, can play multiple positions on offense and defense. Obviously, his glaring weakness is the shooting, but he’s so gifted that he can make up for it in other ways, and it’s about finding a way for him to be at his best for this group.”
Nash eventually said that he felt Simmons would eventually be a good shooter.
Who could have envisioned that Nash would be coaching against Simmons in the same division by the next season? In hindsight, would Nash have been a good choice for the Sixers?
The next coach has to have a good relationship with Simmons and Joel Embiid. The next coach also has to push Simmons and Embiid even if it is uncomfortable.
Brown, by all accounts, had a great relationship with Simmons and Embiid, but neither player did what the coach and team needed most. In Simmons’ case, that would be shooting more, and in Embiid’s case, it would be better conditioning.
Would the voice of a Hall of Fame point guard such as Nash have had more clout?
The Nets wouldn’t have hired Nash if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving didn’t approve. In the NBA, the coach has to align with the team’s stars and if not, it’s easy to see which one departs.
The Sixers feel they are a team that can win now, and whether the fan base agrees or not, that is how they are approaching the coaching hire.
Nash might need to get up to speed with the head-coaching duties, but the Nets retained interim coach Jacques Vaughn as lead assistant. If the Sixers were to hire somebody without prior head-coaching experience, they would likely bring in an experienced coach as the lead assistant.
Who else without coaching experience at any level might work out? Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Dwyane Wade and Chauncey Billups are just a few names. Of this group, Billups seems most destined to be a coach.
Joe Juliano reports that Villanova’s Jay Wright says he is not a candidate for the 76ers’ coaching job.
How the Sixers are pitching their plan for a new arena and more at Penn’s Landing. The team says it could spend $1 billion on businesses and contractors owned by people of color during the construction and initial operations of the project.
Here is a list of experienced NBA head coaches who could be candidates for the Sixers. This is a long list, one that could keep growing.
David Murphy writes that trading Joel Embiid may be the Sixers’ only way out. Murphy feels Embiid can give them their greatest return.
In our series of the Sixers’ 12 most memorable playoff games, here is a look at No. 12 when Allen Iverson scored a career-high 55 points. The Sixers needed almost all the points in a 98-90 opening win over New Orleans in their 2003 first-round series.
What a scoring duo
While some Sixers fans might have checked out after their team was swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics, this postseason has provided plenty of fireworks.
None more so than the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. The Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the opening-round series in seven games. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Denver’s Jamal Murray combined for 475 points, the most scored by two opponents in a playoff series in NBA history, according to Hoopshype.com.
The previous high mark, set by Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers and John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics, was 463 points in the 1969 NBA Finals won by the Celtics.
Murray averaged 31.6 points , and Mitchell averaged 36.3. Each player had 50 or more points twice in the series. Mitchell, who will turn 24 on Monday, scored 57 in an opening overtime loss. He added 51 in a 129-127 win in Game 4 win. Murray, 23, went for 50 in the Game 4 loss and in the Nuggets’ 119-107 win in Game 6.
Eastern Conference semifinals
Here are the dates and results of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
TORONTO vs BOSTON (Boston leads, 2-1)
Game 1 — Sunday, Aug. 30, Boston, 112-94.
Game 2 — Tuesday, Sept. 1, Boston, 102-99
Game 3 — Thursday, Sept. 3, Toronto, 104-103
Game 4 — Saturday, Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Monday, Sept. 7
Game 6* — Wednesday, Sept. 9
Game 7* — Friday, Sept. 11
MILWAUKEE vs MIAMI (Miami leads, 2-0)
Game 1 — Monday, Aug. 31, Miami, 115-104
Game 2 — Wednesday, Sept. 2, Miami, 116-114
Game 3 — Friday, Sept. 4, 6:30 p.m.
Game 4 — Sunday, Sept. 6, 3:30 p.m.
Game 5* — Tuesday, Sept. 8
Game 6* — Thursday, Sept. 10
Game 7* — Saturday, Sept. 12
Passing the rock
Question: What teams would possibly be interested in trading for Al Horford, and what could the Sixers reasonably expect to receive in return? — Harry Metzinger on Facebook
Answer: Thanks for the question, Harry. Trading Horford will be among the most difficult tasks that GM Elton Brand faces. Horford is 34 years old, having averaged 11.9 points, his lowest total since averaging 11.5 points in his second season. Horford will be entering his 14th season and has lost the quickness needed to cover power forwards.
The biggest obstacle in trading him is his salary. According to Hoopshype.com, he is owed more than $80 million in the next three seasons. The question isn’t what the Sixers can get back, but what they would have to give up to unload him (probably a future first-rounder at least). They would also likely have to take a bad contract back in a trade.
To answer your original question, I can see Horford’s old team, Boston, being interested, but again, not at that price.