February 28, 2015

My Choice for the Sixers New Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau

Tom ThibodeauBoston is out of the playoffs.  As a Sixers fan that’s good because we don’t want a rival to succeed.  More importantly it means Tom Thibodeau is 100% available right now to interview for the Sixers vacant head coaching position.  And it looks like that will happen soon as Ed Stefanski has asked permission to interview Tom Thibodeau and Danny Ainge has granted him permission to do so.

Let me start with a few thoughts about hiring an assistant rather than a more established (name and face) head coach.

  • While I understand the need to drum up some attention and favorable opinion of this team and franchise, hiring a big name as coach to accomplish it shouldn’t be a consideration and won’t work anyway.  Only thing that will is wins.  Hire the best available – period.
  • I don’t want a guy to come in here with a diva attitude.  I want a talented, smart coach with some serious drive, work ethic and desire to prove himself the only way he can – by winning and being the leader of that winning club.
  • Is this roster suited for an established coach?  Generally speaking those guys are looking for teams ready to compete on a high level immediately.  Tend not to go for young teams or play young players and like to have a lot of control (not necessarily a bad thing).
  • Where is the next great coach likely to come from?  An established coach who reinvents himself or is rejuvenated in the right situation?  Or an assistant coach who has gained some good experience and learning from other good head coaches, developed his own style and is ready to take the lead?

Just some thoughts to consider and talk about.

My Choice for the Sixers Next Head Coach – and Why

My front runner is Tom Thibodeau at the moment.  I think the Sixers need a fresh face, new perspective and a new approach.  For those who want a defense first coach this is your guy.  For those who want Jeff Van Gundy, why not the guy who was his lead assistant and defensive guru for many years in New York and Houston.  You can’t find anything but positive things about this guy.  It’s sickening actually as I would take some comfort in a little negative criticism (which I found only a drip).

Doc Rivers and Jeff Van Gundy have openly and enthusiastically promoted Tom Thibodeau as a future head coach among others.  In fact I even heard Doug Collins promote him on an ESPN telecast as well.

Some Numbers

He is widely recognized and given credit for not only Boston’s defensive approach and prowess (along with KG) but also for the Houston Rocket’s defense which ranked in the the top 5 when he was there (2004-2007) as well as his 7 seasons under Van Gundy with the Knicks.  He has played a vital role in getting 15 teams to the top 10 in defense in the NBA.

You already know he has a ring with Boston but he also was in the Finals with the Knicks in 1999 under Van Gundy and coached in 101 playoff games if my math is correct.  Thibodeau has been coaching in the NBA for like 19 years including a 2-year stint in Philly with the Sixers under John Lucas (followed him from the Spurs).

You always look at who an assistant coach was under to gain some insight into how is style, approach and mentality has been sculpted.  Thibodeau has coached under:

  • Doc Rivers
  • Jeff Van Gundy
  • Bill Musselman
  • John Lucas

Biggest Question Marks

  1. No head NBA head coaching experience
  2. For a guy that is raved about by just about everyone, WHY hasn’t he been hired as a head coach to this point after 18 season as an assistant?
  3. Unknown personality and style to most outside of the players and coaches he’s been around
  4. What about offense and developing players?
  5. What can he bring to or do for the Sixers?

Number 1: Gotta start somewhere.  So the real question is should it be here since by all accounts around the league he will be a lead man at some point soon.

“You want to hire people as assistants who are better than you.  He’s better.”  “Whatever team hires him as a head coach, it’s going to be a grand slam for the team and a grand slam for the players.” – Jeff Van Gundy

Number 2: From what I’ve read Thibodeau hasn’t found the right fit in terms of a head coaching position and last year was in the midst of a title run which hurt his ability to interview from a timing standpoint.  He is an intense, hard core defensive coach.  If a team doesn’t want that or doesn’t have the personnel to play that way he probably won’t get the job. I’ve also read that his personality can be abrupt at times.  Meaning he may not have developed the tact when communicating with players which is much more necessary as a head coach.  Considering Stefanski’s trait of being a good communicator as a requirement of the job that could hurt Thibodeau as a candidate.  I have it imagine he is good enough as a communicator if he has been able to get buy-in and execution on the defensive end throughout his career.

Number 3: What about his personality?  Does he have fire, intensity and the personality necessary to get after players and hold them accountable? Or is he another meek “players” coach that let’s guys get away with too much too often?  My own assumption is that it would be pretty damn hard to be a successful defensive coach, having coached under JVG and be a “mouse.”  And by all accounts that’s accurate with regard to Thibodeau.  If you’ve ever watched Celtics games you see him as the engaged assistant who is actively coaching defense on the sidelines.  You’ll often see him actually in a defense stance barking at the players to tighten up on D.

They say he flat out loves defense and it comes through in his coaching.  He is intense and fired up which infuses the players on the defensive end.  I think KG sums it up perfectly:

Coach is real animated. He’s real emotional. He’s real energetic. That’s what type of defense we try to go out and have. It’s an energetic, consistent defense. It’s a talkative defense, and when you see him on the side, those are the things that he’s put in for us to try to go and carry over to the court.” – Kevin Garnett, talking about Tom Thibodeau

Isn’t that exactly what we want?

Number 4: In my research one thing I uncovered got me particular excited was Thibodeau while known almost exclusively for his defense by most of the outside public, in closer circles he has proven to be well versed in developing talent and significantly improving the games (offensive) of players.  Two big-time cases you may not have known…

“He’s awesome.”  “He has an unfair advantage.  He started drilling me, NBA basketball drills, when I was 14. So he kind of has inside information on what I like to do because he taught me most of the stuff.” -  Kobe Bryant, speaking about Tom Thibodeau

High praise right there from arguably the most skilled offensive player and complete player in the NBA right now.  Remember Thibodeau was an assistant coach under John Lucas for a couple years with the Sixers and in that time he and young Kobe bounded in the off-seasons when Kobe would workout with the Sixers and Thibodeau would put in extra time working with Bryant.

The other case is regarding Yao Ming when Thibodeau was in Houston.  Everyone was quick to credit Patrick Ewing for Yao’s development when in reality it was Thibodeau who started working with Yao individually at the end of the 2004-2005 season.  Every time Yao was working out Thibodeau was there.  It went as far as Tom spending two summers in China with Yao to continue his development.  If you watch much of Yao you can see the improvements in his game both technically and with his ability to read situations better and react.  Yao became more dominant and consistent immediately after starting to work with Thibodeau.

I also read that he worked with Larry Johnson, Allen Houston and Latrell Sprewell while on those Knicks teams.

I think this guy’s defensive reputation has overshadowed the belief by many in NBA circles that Thibodeau is more than just a defensive coordinator.  Seems he would be better categorized as a good, well-rounded coach with a personal passion for defense and strong ability to not only teach it but get players to execute it at a high level.

Number 5: I think everything I’ve already written answers this question.  We will get a hard working, intense and smart coach ready to lead his own team.  A guy known for getting multi-millionaires to do stuff many don’t want or like to give max effort doing – play sound, tough defense.  A guy that will demand effort, have a strong attention to detail and hold guys accountable for executing his plan.  A guy with a track record for building relationships with good players and helping them develop their all-around game.

On defense Thibodeau brings a strategy sorely lacking on the Sixers.  That of sound, tried-and-true defensive fundamentals with an attacking style.  What you see with the Celtics and even looking back at those Rocket and Knicks teams are that of 5 guys with smooth and perfectly timed rotations after overloading the strong side to not only take away penetration but deter players from even attempting to drive.  Contesting every shot is key because his teams force a lot of jumpers.  Then finishing off the possession by controlling the defensive boards (Sixers were 26th in the NBA in defensive rebounding last season and 23rd the season before.  Boston was 3rd and 8th the last two years).

Playing tough, physical defense and swarming the ball when it enters the middle of the floor in order to force the ball to stay on the perimeter in good defensive locations – the corners and wings foul line extended or below.  Also pick and roll defense, something the Sixers play none of.  When you watch Boston and Cleveland you see their bigs jumping really high and hedging strong and square on ball screens suppressing the offensive player’s attack by making him go laterally or backwards.  All while being able to recover to the screener effectively.  How badly do we need that?!?

A few more quotes to finish this up:

“Tom will come up with a defensive scheme that we’ve never heard before, and he’ll say it like we’ve been talking about it all year.  But he makes sure we’re all on the same page with it. So, he’s definitely kept us keyed in.” – Ray Allen

“If you watch the games, Thibodeau is right on top of every player.  You can tell by the players’ response, not only do they understand it, but that this is the way it has to be done.” -  Jack Ramsay

“I’ve been facing his defenses here for some time and they’re tough – very, very tough.  Every single team he’s been on has had great strategies and physical defenses.” – Kobe Bryant

“Thib has been the best thing that happened to us.” Kendrick Perkins

“He gave us a system to believe in.  From Day One, he said, ‘This is how we’re going to guard.’ And once you put in a system, if you get all the guys to believe in it and trust in it, it means everything.  Whereas in the past when we got young players and we put a system in, we didn’t always get it, we trusted in Tom’s system from Day One and we all committed to him.” – Paul Pierce

There is my case for Tom Thibodeau as the Sixers next coach.  Have I sold you?

More than anything else this was to get more information in your hands about the next candidate so you can come to your own conclusion on the best option for the Sixers next head coach because I think there were a lot of questions about him.

Interviews with Tom Thibodeau

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  1. deepsixersued says:

    Dannie, I am sold!!! I have one request, offer A.Houston a job on his staff as that shooting coach you have wanted.

  2. guest says:


  3. Ryan F says:

    All of my feelings but with much more detail and research,  great post Dannie.

  4. fkd215 says:

    I’m sold, too. 

    And a general compliment: this is the best Sixers site I know of.  Excellent, well-reasoned and researched opinions.  You guys know the game, and even the readers’ comments are usually very good.

  5. bski says:

    Count me in, Dannie.  Thanks for the info.  Great post.

  6. cwither says:

    sold. great post

  7. The Greek says:

    Yes props to Dannie for his sell job but I ask you this.   What the hell is he going to do with our center who is dumber then a bag of rocks?    He doesn’t care about defensive rotations, the only thing that he cares about is pay day so that he can go to chucky cheese and run around like a goofball amongst kids.

    And what about Lou Williams, another guy who doesn’t give a Shiat about defense or passing.

    I will be sold on Thib if his philosophy involves.

    1. either putting Willie G out to pasture or at worst on the end of the bench

    2 .  having no trouble benching of disciplining Lou and Sammy as soon as they show their loser ways.

    3. that he truly is an intense guy and not a mouse like Dileo

    4. That his team plays with passion, plays smart, and plays the game the right way.

  8. Johnnylaptop says:

    Dannie, I hope Stafanski does his homework on Thibodeau as well as you did. It seems like the timing is perfect for the Sixers to to try and hire him. I hope Stafanski can pull it off, great research, got me excited

  9. Tom Moore says:

    Sixers contacted Celtics before Boston was eliminated. With no clear standout coach available — though I hear Jordan is the leader at this point — seriously considering somebody like Thibodeau makes sense.

  10. Ryan F says:

    Greek – I think that bringing TT in could help Sam.  We all agree that he hasn’t been the smartest player there is in his time here, but there is no arguing that with his length and agility, he is still capable of being a very solid defensive player with the right teacher.  I think at the least, he would utilize Sam better, bringing up his morale that could possibly translate to a better performance on the court.

  11. DeanH says:


  12. Dannie says:

    Greek – Who do you want to be the coach?

  13. Ryan F says:

    Dei Lynam

  14. The Real Rob says:

    Wow Dannie, it was like your own infomercial with all those endorsements. 
    All those in favor say “Yea”!
    The only Eddie we need to add is Eddie House coming off the bench!
    GO SIXERS!!! 

  15. Dannie says:

    Greek – About Sam.  What happens if TT is the coach is more clarity.  If one of the best defensive minds in the game can’t maximize Sam’s defensive potential no one can.  Look we all know he won’t ever be much on offense, but if he could make the kind of impact Birdman makes for Denver on the defensive end every minute he is on the floor I would be happy with that.

    Either way the idea that Sam could become even a little bit better defensively is enough for me considering I just don’t think his contract is movable.

    As an aside: Billy King was suppose to be on 950 ESPN last week and Mikey Miss had planned to ask him why in the world did he put that trade kicker in Sammy’s contract.  I really just want an explanation for why that was necessary at the time.  Just seems like an unnecessary, poorly thought out throw in that kills long-term flexibility.

    Willie is going to the bench regardless next season just like he was at the start of this season.  He just becomes another Royal Ivey under TT in my mind.

    From what I can find he is an intense and animated coach that truely loves the game and knows it well.  If this group of players don’t feed off that, it’s a clear message to Stefanski to getting players in here that will.  I mean he already should be looking to fix this roster as it is.

  16. The Greek says:

    Ryan how many coaches have tried to get through to that buffoon and have failed?  Too many, all hope is gone when it comes to Sammy showing growth.

    Dannie, like I said you did a hell of a sell job on Thib.   Although I said no to JVG last week because I felt as if he was a 2 time quitter , I have since changed my mind.  I would love to have that little guy running our team.   I def. want JVG over Thib.  But I will tell you this, if Thib can come through on my 3rd and 4th points which were……

    3. that he truly is an intense guy and not a mouse like Dileo
    4. That his team plays with passion, plays smart, and plays the game the right way.
    Then I would want, and be happy with Thib as our second choice.  

  17. The Greek says:

    Dannie, like I just said I have given up on Sammy being a winning player in any way.  I agree that for this season his contract is unmovable, next season it will be an asset aling with Willie’s and Reggie’s contracts. 

    The thing about that trade kicker is that I can’t see Sammy not waiving that, I mean he’s the one who wants to get out of here almost as much as we want to get rid of him right?

  18. jjg says:

    Nice post, Dannie.  Some prominent insider raves are certainly considerable.  Logical and unanswered question:  what would his detractors say?  Love the defensive end & intensity/attention to detail rep.  The long experience, both in years & playoff games, is in his favor re knowledge acquisition.  Loses points for association with Lucas’ Sixer teams; gains for his Houston & Boston defenses.  Of course, the big question:  why the nearly 2 decades of assistant role?  Wouldn’t a major coaching talent ascend quicker?  Sounds like he’s got a lot of good qualities.  Is he a main man?  I just don’t know much about him to offer a conclusive opinion.  Stefanski’s personnel plans for ’09-’10 and beyond (which we know nothing about) have a direct correlation to the best head coach selection.  Direction:  youth & time or influx of pieces & now?  (Nurturer or taskmaster?)  Key. 

  19. The Real Rob says:

    We can’t really judge one season out of him if he does coach the Sixers.  It really depends on his philosophies on offense.  Eventually, with some time with this team, the defense can and will improve. 

  20. jjg says:

    Sam stinks.  The thought of him in a Sixers uniform again makes me ill.  “Birdman” would take him to the woodshed and kick his ass with velocity. 

  21. deepsixersued says:

    Jumpin, him and the birdman would be behind the shed, smokin a dubie. The problem with Sam is he looks high when he isn!t.

  22. The Real Rob says:

    Who would Thibodeau’s coaching staff be?  That will be interesting (please get Patrick Ewing, who made a nice guarantee two days ago).

    Players that I would like:  Antony Parker, Eddie House, Trevor Ariza


  23. DeanH says:


    Another reference for Thibodeau:
    Magic Johnson not so long ago said a team looking for a new head coach would be foolish not to hire Thidobeau.

  24. jjg says:

    Suede, I can’t comment with any accuracy on their social habits, however, your suggestion strikes me as a feasibility.  The problem with Sam is he’s shaped like a basketball player, but he’ll never be one due to a lack of heart.   

  25. Pete says:

    Thanks for getting our hopes up Dannie. We’ll blame you when we are all pissed that Eddie Jordan got hired. 

    In the NBA and NFL, I would almost always prefer going for an up and coming assistant coach unless you can lure a big-time coach away from another team. I think you go for trying to find your own Gregg Popovich instead of re-treads. 
  26. Sean says:

    Great write-up man, absolutely brilliant.  Excellent work uncovering those nuggets.  I am sold.  I either want Thibodeau or Elston Turner.  Plus, the benefit of getting Thib is weakening the C’s!

  27. The Greek says:

    What motivation has Sam had ever since he got paid?  The guy never has had  a passion for the game.   He has never had a desire to be great no matter what fake BS he has spun us.    Billy King got punked and throughout that process so did we, and how King still gets mentioned as a possible GM candidate for the knicks is just amazing.

    People think that Dumbo’s attitude will change through winning right?  Wrong, remember during the 07-08 season when we went on a 7 game winning streak in the second half?  Sammy after years of playing for a loser must have been ecstatic right?  Wrong, after that 7th game he complained about his role.  

    F’n loser, JJG your right bro the thought of that guy being on our team this year brings back bad memories of this season.  And this season aside from Thad and Speights was a failure.
    During the second half of the 07-08 season I thought our defense, desire, hustle, and heart was through the roof.  I was so proud to watch that team.  This past season no so much.  There defense was terrible, there heart was missing.  How does a team lose it’s heart with basically the same cast as the  grinders from the season before?

    Another freakin year of Willie G starting, how is that  possible?

    Centers and Play makers personalities have a huge effect on there teams makeup.  Our center has the mind of a 5 year old.  And our play maker as heady as he was, must have been the quietest man on earth.  The clippers broadcasters really talked a lot of crap on him whenever we played them, saying that the guy was a mute and just plain weird.  And our 2nd pg, Lou W is a selfish sack of dung who considers himself a leader.  A freakin leader, when in truth he played like a bigger loser then Sammie this season if that is even possible.

  28. The Greek says:

    From Sam Smith,
     But the talk is the Trail Blazers will sign the 76ers Andre Miller as a free agent. Then they’ll use their extra pieces, perhaps including Blake, to make a deal for a banger up front. Then the 76ers would need a point guard, and that could be where Bibby goes if the 76ers lose Miller, which seems likely as the free agent boycotted the team’s final meetings.

  29. Johnnylaptop says:

    I had Avery Johnson high on my list for his seemingly high IQ and intensity had a good win loss record I liked his energy. Whats the ups and down with him? Would like to be informed.

  30. The Real Rob says:

    Sam Smith’s stuff is not always credible.  Twice he has mentioned Doug Collins coaching again (last year for the Bulls, then speculation this year for the Sixers). 
    Bibby would be a great guy to have if Miller does leave though.  Plus, there is that Arizona Wildcat connection with Iggy in terms of playing similar plays from the same college.  (And also if you invite his brother in law Eddie House along.  I want Eddie House!). 

  31. deepsixersued says:

    Guys, what was your initial feeling with the two candidates thus far?, you go with your gut,right? With me, Jordan was blahhhhh, and I am excited as hell with Thebodeax, I hope E.S. doesn!t let him leave town.

  32. Joe says:

    I’d like Bibby on the Sixers… but, even if we lose Miller, how do we afford him?

  33. Dannie says:

    JJG – Like I said in the post I would actually feel more comfortable if Thibodeau had more known detractors.  His resume and references seem too000 good.

    Questions I have: When did he seriously start attempting to go make the leap from assistant coach to head coach?  I know he interview for the Kings job in 2007 and didn’t get it (they hired Reggie Theus).  Why didn’t he get that job?  Theus didn’t come off to me as the next great head coach and he clearly didn’t last in hindsight.  Why pass on a highly regarded assistant that focuses on the tougher half of the game?  And at least at the moment to my knowledge the King’s haven’t contacted him again this time around for their vacant coaching position so it’s safe to assume something turned them off to TT.

    I read somewhere he doesn’t come across well in interviews, but I question that because he hasn’t interviewed often enough for head coaching positions to develop that reputation.

    There is an unknown for sure but hey that’s better than the same ole, same ole at this point for the Sixers in my opinion.  And I agree whatever plans (no plans) Stefanski has for the roster will play a part in the coaching decision.  If they still want to run predicated on defense Thib is a good choice in my opinion.  And I’d rather the head coach be the one teaching, coaching and placing emphasis on defense rather than a lead assistant.  I think the lead assistant works well when you have a very highly regarded head coach to back him.  The Sixers aren’t getting one of those guys.

    Dwayne Casey is another candidate to emerge.  Will see what I can dig up on him.

    Johnny – Every where I read Avery Johnson is the coach Philly fans seem to want.  I think people just want his New Orleans accent screaming at guys in the Wach.  That really just seems to be the only argument for him.  People are quick to point at the slide Dallas took after him.  That’s BS.  The slide began with Avery at the helm and while I think he might have gotten a premature hook by Cuban he certainly didn’t get fired for no reason at all (67 wins, top seed, first round exit – not good).  I almost don’t know if it’s necessary to even dedicate a post to Johnson since by all accounts he hasn’t been contacted at all by the Sixers and neither has Doug Collins.  But since he seems to be the hot name for Philly fans from what I can see I will do something up this week on my opinion of him as an option.

  34. Dannie says:

    Bibby on the Sixers hurts you even more defensively than Miller.  At least you could put Miller on a bigger guy and he could attempt to use his strength.  Bibby couldn’t guard anyone, at any time this season.  So does his three point shooting do enough to make up for his defensive deficiency?

  35. The Greek says:

    I also agree on not wanting Bibby because of his stank D,  but the choice is either him or miller give me Bibby.

    Rob, do you really plan on having your second team backcourt consist of House and Lou Williams?

  36. The Greek says:

    Correction I meant if the choice was either Bibby  or Miller then give me bibby.  

    Let’s see how the draft plays out first though,  maybe we’ll get lucky and one falls to us. 

  37. Joe says:

    Yeah, and I honestly do believe there’s a good chance we can get a point guard we really like with our pick.  We could probably start a rookie if he was really, really seasoned as a result of his college experience (e.g. Lawson at UNC).

    I’d definitely take Bibby if the price was right, which is why I pondered whether we could actually afford him.  

  38. The Greek says:

    Will crazy Eddie trade up in the draft? 

    Will Crazy Eddie trade for a 2nd round pick?  

    Does crazy Eddie have the smarts to make a trade without getting robbed? 

    Is Crazy Eddie anything more then a local yo cal?  

    What exactly did Rod Thorn allow Crazy Eddie to do in N.J. aside from fetching him his coffee?

    Does Crazy Eddie regret trading away Korver?  The dude was our only player with an outside shot.  His Basketball IQ was very high, and he loved not only the sport of basketball but the very essence of being a Philidelphia 76′er

  39. 2one5 says:

    Totally on board with thad iggy and brand we have the core to be a really solid defensive force. 

    F^&* Sam if he doesnt get with the program bench him for the year and worst case you have an expiring contract to deal the following year. Also he would have input on the drafting of a point guard who can be his guy and play his way. Not sure how much he had to do with rondo but he has blossomed. 

     I think  players like jason smith/speights would greatly benefit from Thib being brought in they could use a great defensive coach to help the develop a prescence on that end of the floor. 

    A shooting coach is a must!!!

  40. Mike59 says:

    Great post.  I’ve been on the Thibodeau bandwagon since the season ended.  Let’s hope the Sixers do the right thing.  Also, wouldn’t it be cooler if Thibodeau had an “x” at the end of his name?

  41. The Real Rob says:

    Everybody, calm down with the extreme negativity.  Criticism is allowed, but be reasonable with it.  People could reading our stuff, like potential free agents, coaches, and Stefanski himself.
    The Greek:  I would not go too ga ga over Korver.  Since joining the Jazz and since 07-08, his shot has been going downhill and his defense is still not good despite joining Jerry Sloan.  They are using him the same way the Sixers did by giving him the ball and making him the ONLY perimeter option.  Plus, he is afraid of the moment!  Donyell Marshall should be resigned for another 1 year deal.  Stefanski should try signing Eddie House again (previously did so with the Nets)–that guy is clutch and doesn’t stand still.
    2one5– A shooting coach is definitely a must, especially for FTs!! 

  42. RRose says:

    Great post Danni.   After Ed Snider and Ed Stefanski, I would blow up this whole coaching and scouting staff.  Start over.  2 playoff appearances and 6 additional games each series to go with 2 first round exits just isn’t getting it.  If they hire Eddie Jordan I won’t attend another game.  I got the feeling someone in the Sixers organization reads this stuff, blogs, and other basketball media outlets.  So, if they are reading your blog site its time.  Time to fix this team with addition by subtraction.  No more Lynam, Chris Ford, Dileo’s, Frank and Tony, Loyer, Witte, Ruland, Moses, etc.. Just start new with fresh ideas. 

    I think Thib is a great choice even though he was here before he gets a pass.  Let’s get this movement going.  The draft lottery is tonight although the Sixers aren’t in it, at least we’ll all get to see where they will land.  This site is the only thing keeping me excited about this team.

  43. guest says:

    I wish there was some way in hell we could get Thabeet in the draft.  He will be everything we dreamed Sammy would become, only Thabeet is less goofy and has a much higher basketball IQ.  Hasheem would be the perfect guy if we want to pride ourselves on defense.

    Now I know basically what it takes to trade up in the NFL.  But I really have no clue how much you have to give up in the NBA.  Any help?  Is it easier or harder?  I’m predicting Thabeet will go in the Top 7 picks so we would probably have to give up a lot.  Once again though, I have no clue.

    I would only want Thabeet though if we plan on signing Miller back and if we plan on trading Sammy in some way.  I think he will be a very good defensive player in the NBA though.

  44. Dannie says:

    Apparently Kurt Rambis is in the mix as well.  Radio report that the Sixers requested permission to contact for an interview when the Lakers are done with the playoffs.

  45. The Real Rob says:

    Wow, Ed Stefanski really means it, just as last summer.  What Ed wants, Ed gets. (The rest is up to the coach!) 

    Dwayne Casey is more of an assistant coach than anything else.  What does offer to the Sixers?

  46. Dannie says:

    Guest – Are you serious with Thabeet?  Have you watched him play a lot?  Pete probably more than me have and both seen him play twice live in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  I am not sold on him AT ALL, and certainly not even close to worth moving up to get.  If you are going to move up why not just get the point guard you want and shooter at the same time (Curry)?

    Right now he is projected at Dikembe as a ceiling.  I don’t think he comes close to being that good or consistent.

    Honestly I see him as Samuel Dalembert 2.0.

  47. The Real Rob says:

    Here is what Celtic fans are saying regarding Tom Thibodeau:

    Ed Stefanski and the Sixers better not kid themselves with all of these assistant coaches.  If one is worthy to prove himself, it would be Tom Thibodeau, “Secretary of Defense”. 

  48. tk76 says:

    You had me at Thibodeau.

  49. The Greek says:

    Rob first off you never answered my question, do you plan on playing House in the same backcourt as Lou Williams?

    Secondly I hope and pray that Stefanski is readin this blog  because  that team disgusted me all season with there lame defense, lame effort, and all around selfishness.

    2one5, I’m with you on Sammy.   As I before I wouldn’t mind if we just bought him out, although I know that’s not going to happen.

  50. The Greek says:

    I’m sorry for the spelling/grammar errors, I have a killer migraine kind of like I did after game 6 of the playoffs.

    Question for Dannie, what is Rambis going to offer us?   Will he bring in the triangle offense?   What about his defensive philosophy?

  51. tk76 says:

    “what is Rambis going to offer us?”

    Some old time toughness.  Maybe Thunder Bob Thornton as an assistant (who ironically has some coaching credentials)…  Any other thoughts?

  52. Dannie says:

    Greek – No idea.  He coached the Lakers to a 24-13 record after Del Harris was fired during the 1999 strike season (so think he did coach the core guys Kobe, Shaq, D. Fish, Horry that won 3 championships).  One a playoff round and then got swept by the eventual champion Spurs.  Phil Jackson took over the next season.  He was the assistant GM for the Lakers before he became an assistant. He also interviewed for that Sacramento Kings head coaching job in 2007. 

    I am sure he knows the triangle but not sure he knows it well enough to teach the nuances of it to players that have no concept of it, let along have weak basketball IQ.

    A good role players mentality.  Doesn’t look to be much written on him.  Doesn’t make him a bad candidate just even more unknown than everyone else.

  53. Ryan F says:

    Agreed on the Thabeet – Sam comparison.  Another big is the last thing we need anyway.  Coach 1st, Distributor/Shooter 2nd.

    Curry would be nice.  Chad Ford has him dropping all the way to 13th right now.  I’m sure that’ll change between now and then, but if it didn’t, it shouldn’t cost too much to move up.

  54. Dannie says:

    Sixers interviewed Casey today.  Moving quick, I like it.  Get a broad comparison of coaches and make an informed decision.

    I feel like he might be saving Tom T. for later in the search because he is the favorite to get the job and he wants to see a bunch of people fore getting to TT.  If he interviewed him early and liked him he might jump the gun and just hire him without doing his due diligence with other candidates. All my own speculation.

  55. The Real Rob says:

    Ed Stefanski is in Los Angeles.  He interviewed both Kurt Rambis and Dwayne Casey there, of course in separate places.  This is guy is Ed Stedfastsky.  Again, give the guy credit for another assertive offseason, but this coaching decision is perhaps his biggest as a 76ers GM. 

    According to SportsNite, the interview with Casey went “well”.  (Could this be a move, similar to Josh Smith’s visit with good praise, but no offer?  Hmm.)  Our GM is a silent ninja! 


  56. The Real Rob says:

    The Greek– I didn’t see any of your posts with your question, until your post (post #49).  Sometimes, you might see that combination of House and Williams, but not often.  House must get some of the minutes that Lou does not deserve.  Who knows?  But anyway, House is something!

  57. guest says:

    Dannie, I had no idea Thabeet was projected to go as high as he is and I take back the option of trading up for him.  But I stand by my thought of him becoming everything we hoped Sammy would become.  I’ve watched him a lot, especially this past season and my friend is a huge Uconn fan.  That’s all he talks about is how much of a game changer he is.  I think he would be an upgrade defensively and maybe even offensively if we could replace Sammy with Hasheem.  Given time, I think he will be leagues better than Sammy will ever think about being.

    Jim Calhoun (which I have tremendous respect for) said Thabeet was “one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of college basketball”

  58. The Greek says:

    Agreed when it is all said and done Thabeet will be a much, much better player then Sam.   The guy is a real deal shotblocker/rebounder.

  59. Dannie says:

    He wouldn’t be an upgrade defensively right away and I fully expect him to be on the bench with foul trouble often. Offensively what does he do?  Catch lobs and dunks.  Catch easy passes from guards and dunks.  He has no offensive game at all at this point.  Will he develop a reliable offensive game?  Maybe – at best.

    At what point will people start coveting and gushing over skilled basketball players that know how to play the game not just raw athletes?

    Thabeet is big – 7-3 he rebounded and blocked shots.  Sorry not impressive, he should do that at that size in college basketball.

    Furthermore he is a cupcake.  Soft.  Keep him away from the Sixers roster at all costs.

    Nice compliment, but it would have more credibility with me if it didn’t come from his own coach.

  60. The Greek says:

    Agreed on him having no offensive game, but the difference between him and Sammy is that I think that he is willing to accept his role and try to dominate the game with his rebounding and shotblocking.  Where last we heard from Sammy he was talking about making himself a factor on offense,  what a clown. 

  61. The Greek says:

    At what point will people start coveting and gushing over skilled basketball players that know how to play the game not just raw athletes?

    I’m with you Dannie, thats why I was loving watching Euro basketball last summer.  Even the centers in Europe hit jumpers, set screeens,  and make passes that lead to baskets.

  62. guest says:

    He does everything now that Sammy does, not including the fumbled balls out of bounds, the long jump shots, and the bone-headed passes that had us commenting with anger on this very site. I can’t back up my opinion with stats or anything, because my opinion is based solely on potential. However, if we want to pride ourselves on defense, and we want to get rid of Sammy…. Thabeet would fit perfectly. Again, in my opinion. And I too thought he was “soft” after watching the regular season game vs. Blair and Pittsburgh. He got a ton of criticism after that game. But I thought he responded nicely the rest of the season. 

    “At what point will people start coveting and gushing over skilled basketball players that know how to play the game not just raw athletes?” 

    I understand that concern. But I think that is the key difference between Sam and Thabeet. Sam is an idiot as a basketball player. Only an athlete. Thabeet is a smart player that doesn’t make himself look like a fool out there, and I could argue he will become a better athlete than Sam. Keep in mind I completely retract my statement about trading up for him. That would be ludicrous. But I am sold on him.

  63. guest says:

    And I am deeply sorry for being an idiot and commenting four times in a row.  My computer froze up so I refreshed the page and I guess that is the outcome.  Oops, once again, sorry.

  64. jurnee16 says:


    ESPN’s NBA Draft expert Chad Ford has the Sixers taking Eric Maynor in his first 1st round mock draft…I would be thrilled with this as Maynor has good size for the position at 6’3″ and posesses the 3-point range this team has been sorely missing…I would be happy with Nick Calathes for the same reasons and the fact he may be the best passer to come into the draft in 10 years….

  65. Dannie says:

    I think Thabeet will be okay in the league at some point that’s as far as I am willing to go right now.  I see no reason to hype him up any more than that and I am over the potential argument because it’s often overblown and overused.

    I think he is quite a bit away from playing serious minutes and being a serious contributor.  He still hasn’t even learned the game fully yet and now he must transition and learn the NBA game.  Hopefully he gets with a good team with good coaches that can help him develop.

    I think he will struggle rebounding at first in the NBA because he doesn’t use his feet well enough to get in good position and guys will out work and quick him for position and he will get called for a lot of over the back fouls.

    He will be a pick and roll target immediately (his entire career?).

    He isn’t a good free throw shooter.

    Unsure of him as a passer.

    He will block shots no doubt, but can he defend one-on-one?  I think he will have trouble when guys face him up and will struggle with guys that use their lower body to push him back out of good defensive position (like Blair did to him all season).

    Offensively I think it’s optimistic to think he will develop a game.  For one he is extremely raw and hasn’t been playing ball that long so he is way behind.  Bigs learning curve and development is slow for one very big, hard to overcome reason…

    They don’t get enough game touches.  They work out a ton in practice, free time and off-season.  But they don’t get enough game touches to apply that work in games in order to get the needed feedback to make adjustments or develop the feel, decision-making and reading ability for the game necessary to be a good back to the basket offensive player. 

    Bigs that do were either already really good offensively or good enough that giving him game touches wouldn’t significantly hurt the team in winning games for the sake of development and potential help a bit in winning games.  On top of that those guys were in ideal situations that provided them with that opportunity to get post touches  that definitely wouldn’t be the case in Philly.

    Also I am not yet sold on his personality either.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he got to the league, got some confidence, got some money and got too full of himself.

    Look I am usually very critical because I love the game and I just think ppl give players too much credit too early and start calling guys good and great before they’ve done anything.  That is especially true for guys like Thabeet whose college production was just ok considering the team he played on and his physical gifts.  I always feel the need to counter balance the hype.

  66. Pete says:

    my 2 cents on Thabeet: I watch A LOT of UConn games and I would want no part of this guy on my team. He’s a great shotblocker and nothing more. I don’t think he will be a great rebounder in the NBA when he’s not going up against a 6’7” Luke Harangody. He’s soft. Very, very soft. DeJuan Blair, who is 6’6”, destroyed him twice. Everytime he would get knocked down, he acted hurt. Including taking himself out of the end of a game against ND (the softest team in the country). He will block shots, get into foul trouble, maybe score 10 points a game a couple years. He is just as goofy and inconsistant as Sammy, only a couple inches taller. 

    He’s also real arrogant, calling out Hansbrough and Harangody before the season as nobodys and many times over-celebrated his blocks during the season.

    If you are 7’3”, and not going #1 overall, you aren’t very good. 

  67. Pete says:

    likely Clippers line-up next season (assuming a Zach Randolph trade or release):

    PG- Baron Davis
    SG- Eric Gordon
    SF- Al Thornton
    PF- Blake Griffin
    C- Chris Kaman/Marcus Camby

    It’s too bad Mike Dunleavy and co. are going screw that up, that’s an exciting line-up. 

  68. Zack says:

    Don’t want Thibodeau.  Want Doug Collins.

    Dannie, can you find some quotes from bad and struggling role players who turned into good players under Thibodeau?  Didn’t Houston just make it into the second round, and took the Lakers to 6 games without Thib?  I’ll come back to full circle to Thibs after a couple of paragraphs.

    some belated replies – jjg, thanks for the “interesting” comment.  Boring sucks.  suede, great insight into the kind of coach Stefanski wants; it’s logical and it makes me want to puke.

    and Greek…  You keep mentioning as a positive that Thad is only 20 (21?), but that there’s a huge downside to having that much talent at that age – things get too easy for him, because of all the ass-kissing and people catering to his wants, and he doesn’t build the character needed to become a man, and to win championships in the NBA you need that kind of maturity.  If you think about it, if LeBron wins a title this year, this will be the first time in a long time where the star/stars of the NBA champion haven’t been strengthened by some sort of well-documented failures/adversity/seasoning in the past.  A perfect example – Sammy hated O’Brien, but look at what that hate brought out of Sam.  That Detroit series, and some really good seasons afterwards from what was looking like a bust.  Look at Rodney Carney after Mo’s pushing him to become more of a complete player.  Tim Duncan’s 4 years of college.  Kobe and Shaq trying to show each other up.  Detroit’s team full of castoffs from other teams, trying to show that they CAN win.  Same with Detroit last year.  I’m sure you know about Jordan.  Wade had a similar sort of “seasoning”.

    And this is why I want an agitator, someone who the players might end up hating because he pushes them too hard or criticizes them too much.  I’d be fine with Doug Collins not lasting beyond 3 years, as long as he can really dig into these guys and turn these Sixer brats into men/real NBA players.  Thad’s soft and doesn’t care about his defense as much as he does his offense – imagine what would happen if we pissed Thad off?  That’s what I want, a pissed-off Thad.  If Stefanski’s not careful, Thad could easily become the next Ricky Davis.

    And that’s why no Thibodeau.  It’s like trying to teach Shakespeare to ESOL classes.  This team isn’t ready for him.  It’s like asking Mary Poppins to moderate the Jerry Springer show – not gonna work.

  69. Pete says:

    one last point on Thabeet…

    Since 1946, there have only been 19 players in the NBA standing at 7’3” or taller. Of them, only 5 averaged over 10 points per game for their career (Ming, Big-Z, Smits, Ralph Sampson and Sabonis). With the exception of Sampson, all those guys scored because they were exceptional shooters. Each with around an 80% FT %. Thabeet comes in around 62%.

    So he’s either going to be 2nd decent non-shooting super-big in NBA history, or he will go the way of Muresan, Bradley, Breuer and Eaton (6 through 9 on that PPG list). From what I’ve seen, I’m guessing the latter.

  70. guest says:

    Dannie, spot on.  I am with you on all of those points.  Like I said, I have no counter-argument because his college numbers were just so so.

    I brought up Thabeet for a couple of reasons:
    1.  We already said goal number 1 is getting rid of Sammy.  
    2.  Priding ourselves on defense is something we will do if TT is our coach, which after reading this post I am all for.
    3.  There were some talks about trading up.
    4.  Rebounding (defensive) was a major concern towards the end of this season.

    Hasheem Thabeet is the name I thought of when I considered all of those current topics.  There are many holes in his game.  But if I am picking a Center to replace the things that Sammy does for us, I would pick Thabeet.  

    I like the point you make about big men taking a long time to develop on offense.  You see this all the time.  They do not get the necessary in game touches to fully develop.  Greg Oden is the most recent example.  That is why you see teams hiring coaches specifically for developing Centers.  Kareem for Andrew Bynum and the Lakers.  Ewing for Dwight Howard and the Magic.  Unless a young center has a good post move, or he is a dominant post player, he will not develop at a fast pace.

  71. guest says:

    Pete, All of your points are valid as well.  But I’ll still stand by my opinion that Thabeet will become everything we hoped Sammy would become.  I think he will be better defensively and I don’t think he will make as many idiotic mistakes as Sammy.  Whether or not he will score 10 ppg?  I’ll side with you and say no he won’t.  But I think he can still easily do the things that Sammy does and once again, with less turnovers.

    I think I should officially end all Thabeet conversations considering we have no chance/desire to get him, and I don’t want to get proven wrong any more than I already have.   haha, Looking forward to future draft talk leading up and looking more in depth at the players available.

  72. The Greek says:

    In the end its a non issue anyway because Thabeet is going 3rd to oklahoma and besides that we need to draft a guard in the worst way.   I wish that we had an earlier pick,  and I am also starting to really dig Maynor as well.

  73. The Greek says:

    BTW what in the world is Memphis going to do with conley now being that their going to draft Rubio?

  74. The Real Rob says:

    NBA Draftnet has the Sixers drafting Ty Lawson. What do you guys think?


    And also, how about that Nuggets-Lakers game?  What a difference that trade made for Denver,  huh?   

  75. The Real Rob says:

    According to CSN, the latest Stefanki will interview Thibodeau is Wednesday (in this case Today).

    Also, Celtic fans are beginning to feel some pain and agony here.

    Simply put, the Celtics cannot win another championship without their one-time Defensive Player of the Year, Kevin Garnett.  That is a fact and perhaps some of their free agents might have to look elsewhere.  (Eddie House, maybe?)

  76. Dannie says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Memphis takes Thabeet.  They need front court help in a bad way.  A defensive center would be perfect than they can slide Marc Gasol over to PF.

    I am not on the Rubio hype train at the moment.  I honestly don’t know how most fans can be, considering 99% probably haven’t actually seem him play more than a handful of games at most.  He was injured or hampered by the right wrist/hand injury a good portion of his past season.

    Real chance he becomes white chocolate 2.0.  If he really can guard in the NBA he should be ok.  But he doesn’t have a reliable jumper yet and he probably will turn the ball over as much as he makes the oh and ah play for a while.  NBA rules will help him on the perimeter so guys won’t be able to take advantage of his thin frame and lack of strength too much.  But he will have a tough time guarding some of the stronger points.

    Just need to see more of him so I hope he can get his contract stuff figured out and be in the league next season.

  77. The Greek says:

    The one thing that I took away from watching Rubio last summer were his quick and strong hands on defense, for a 19 year old this kid can guard.    I will be shocked if Thabeet goes before him but honestly I could care less, it’s all about our squad!   I love hearing the news of Lawsons’s falling stock but I don’t believe that he will be there when were drafting. 

    Dannie I can’t wait for your future article  naming all of the point guards in this draft that we would be happy drafting!

  78. Dannie says:

    Looks like Sacramento is also opening up their coach search and plan to interview Rambis and Tom Thibodeau.  I still have to imagine Jordan is their top choice.  What I am most curious about right now is the fact that if they really like him why haven’t they made an offer.

  79. deepsixersued says:

    I read recently the toe issue with Lawson may scare off some teams, they compared it to T.Chandler. Dannie, after the lottery I went down each teams roster looking for a trade partner, This sign-trade makes too much sense for both teams, and in spite of being an all in move for E.S., could get us in the eastern finals in the next 2 years, would you do this? Sign A.Miller to a 3 year and 33 million deal and trade him straight up for B.Davis and draft a shooter at #17. It makes sense in a lot of ways because the Clippers don!t seem enamored with him but can!t afford to move him without getting a p.g. back.And could he possibly be a C.Billups type leader for us.

  80. Dannie says:

    Suede – Absolutely not! 

    First let me say I vehemently dislike the Davis – Billups thought 100%.  I am a HUGE Billups disciple.  Those two players are nothing at all alike in style of play and more importantly one is a winner the other is not.  I think that is way more than a stretch to go there.

    I honestly believe Baron Davis, while only 30 years old is done for the most part.  Baron is/was a dynamic, versatile player but  I don’t think he can play at a high level physically for an entire season and his style is even more reckless when his body won’t allow him to do the things he wants to do.  He is coming off the worst season of his career and I am not sure it’s going to get much better.  Has never been a good three point shooter but he chucks up 5 per game and is a high volume low percentage scorer in general.  Weak free throw shooter at the point is not a good idea either.

    Do we need that on this team?  More poor shooting?  And we would have that through 2013.  I don’t like it.  Rather have Lawson or Maynor on the cheap.

    Why would the clippers want Andre Miller?  Even with the addition of Griffin they aren’t in win now mode and Andre Miller very well could stunt the growth of young players with the way he dominates the ball.  I think the Clippers needs a spot up shooter/passer at the point that is not Miller.

    That just my opinion.

  81. deepsixersued says:

    Dannie, the Clippers would be saving years and money with this move and could be a playoff team next year with Griffin in the fold and filling another need with [Camby or Kamen]. As far as Davis, going back to his Charlotte and Golden St. days I always thought of him as a player better than his numbers and a guy ,at the end of games, was dangerous. If he is done physically than ,no, you don!t make this move. But, I feel, a lot of this teams up and down, laid back play comes from not having  a] a fiery coach and  b] a fiery p.g. leader and just think Davis!s personality and late game ,give me the ball and clear out attitude would be  a Billups like influence on this laid back group. But yes it would be risky.

  82. Dannie says:

    Billups like influence = winning, a lot of it.  What has Davis won?  6 playoff appearances made it out of the first round 3 times.  Eh.  Overrated as a leader, has accomplished less than Allen Iverson in terms of winning and their games are similar. 

    You’re are saddling the Sixers with another big contract, declining and marginal player through 2013. For what?  Maybe, HUGE maybe they get to the conference finals at best. 

    I want players maturing into their prime or coming off the books when Dalembert, Willie and Reggie come off the books so when we add a critical piece(s) that/those acquisitions are coming to a team that legitimately is only one or two player away.

    Pass on this scenario.

  83. The Greek says:

    Plus there is no way in hell that the clippers would take back Andre Miller,  for some reason the quiet guy wanted to get the hell away from the Clip show even though it’ his home town.

  84. Ryan F says:

    Baron Davis = Allen Iverson

  85. Ryan F says:

    One takes 25 ft jumpers with the shot clock at 21, and the other don’t care much bout practice.

  86. jjg says:

    If Stefanski does not interview Avery Johnson for the head coaching job, he will have not done his due diligence in steering Sixers’ future, my opinion.  Just picking Johnson’s brain on his take on team/individuals & plan-of-action would be worth the time and paid accomodations. 

  87. The Real Rob says:

    Doug Collins is with TNT and Marv Albert for the Eastern Conference Finals. (Quite a Game 1 that was!).

    So, who should Ed interview next prior to Doug Collins? 

    -Avery Johnson
    -Mike Fratello

  88. The Real Rob says:


  1. Coach Tracker…

    UPDATE: The Sixers will interview Thibodeau later this week. Nothing happened today….

  2. [...] Tom Thibodeau – This is the guy that intrigues me the most because of his defensive focus, pedigree and strong history of results with stout defensive teams.  He has 19 years coaching experience as a coach under some good head coaching names.  When Ed Stefanski was asked specifically about Thibodeau his response was: “I’m not getting into any names.  I know who Tom Thibodeau is. I know who every assistant coach is. I’m not getting into any names.” [...]

  3. [...] Tom Thibodeau – I still think this dude needs to get a shot at a head coaching job.  No one can be 100% certain he will be the next great coach or not, but he’s worked under some strong head coaches, players really seem to like him and buy into his defensive approach and he has the bench experience on playoff teams and a champion.  I wouldn’t be upset if the Sixers were the team to give him a shot. You can read more about Tom Thibodeau here. [...]

  4. [...] Tom Thibodeau – Danny Ainge has  given teams permission to interview Thibodeau for coaching openings during the Celtics playoff run. [...]

  5. [...] every case, he’s earned nothing but stellar reviews. As Dannie of ReclinerGM muses in this awesome Thibodeau profile (seriously, please go read it), “You can’t find anything but positive things about this [...]

  6. [...] big question will be how first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau does. We all know he’s the guy Dannie wanted for the Sixers, and he has gotten much of the credit for the Celtics’ defensive prowess the [...]