January 31, 2015

Who is Dwane Casey and Why Has He Been Interviewed a Second Time for the Sixers’ Head Coaching Position?

Dwane Casey Sixers Head Coaching Candidate

First let me start with the news that Phil Jasner is reporting.

Dwane Casey, who has just completed his first season as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, has had a second interview for the 76ers’ vacant coaching job, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Exactly when or where the second session with Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski took place remains unclear. The first meting came last week in Santa Monica, Ca. while Stefanski was in the area scouting a group of college players for the upcoming NBA draft. – Phil Jasner

This is the first report of a second interview for anyone and for many it probably comes as a bit of a surprise. Is it a signal Ed Stefanski and crew has really taken a liking to Casey and he is now the front runner?  One can only speculate but it certainly isn’t a stretch.

Dwane Casey: Summary

So I am going to break this down two ways.  The quick and dirty synopsis of what I found about Dwane Casey and below I will give those how want more depth some of the stuff I actually found about him to read at your leisure.  I found some ESPN analysts’ opinions as well as Timberwolves fans’ opinions in Casey.

Some Particulars

Casey is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks (1st year).  Prior to that he was hired as the head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the 2005 NBA season.  The team finished with a 33-49 record.  Not really good but not unexpected either considering the roster which was completely shook up 40 games into the season whey they traded Wally Szczerbiak who was actually playing quite well next to KG.  Worth noting as bad as that team was they were still 9th in defensive rating that season under Casey who is known for being a strong defensive coach.

The following season Casey only lasted 40 games.  He was promptly fired with a 20-20 record after the Wolves lost 4 straight games by large margins (more on this below).  Worth noting, going into the ’06-’07 season the Timberwolves were expected to be pretty bad.  Certainly not a playoff team and vying for a good lottery spot.  At the time Casey was fired he had the Wolves in the 8th playoff spot and again in the top 10 in defense.  Casey was fired on January 23rd.  The Wolves actually started the month 7-1 with a 20-16 record and overachieving dramatically.  Two of the 4 straight loses could directly be attributed to a punch KG threw and ejection in one game and being suspended the following game.  Needless to say his firing wasn’t all what it seemed.  Not to mention he was completely undermined by the front office who dictated who his lead assistant was by forcing Casey choice out for Randy Wittman, his successor.  Word is when that decision came down it was just a matter of time before Casey got the axe.  It was clear ownership had started the wheels in another direction before Casey was even out the door.

Prior to that debacle Casey was an assistant coach under George Karl and Nate McMillan in Seattle for 11 seasons (starting in 1994) which means he was apart of that 1996 NBA Finals team.

Casey coached for 5 seasons in Japan with noted basketball legend Pete Newell leading the National team to their first World Championship appareance in 31 years.  Casey started his coaching career as an assistant to Eddie Sutton at Kentucky (where he also played) and under Clem Haskins at Western Kentucky.

The Good

  • Defensive focused coach who was moderately successful as a head coach improving this area
  • Loves the game of basketball and is student of the game always looking to learn and improve his coaching ability.
  • Has a diverse coaching background from high level college basketball, NBA and overseas.
  • Said to be a disciplinarian one who won’t let players run over him but not an authoritarian who over coaches and doesn’t accept thoughtful input from key players, assistant coaches or advanced scouts and statisticians.
  • Good at developing players and is fantastic with his game preparation and maximizing practice time.
  • Overachiever
  • According to Dean Oliver who was with the Supersonics while Casey was an assistant, Dwane does use advanced statistical analysis as part of his coaching toolbox.

The Bad

  • Inexperienced as a head coach with only a year and half under his belt with a bad team.  But for an assistant it’s actually more than most.
  • Said to have weird/questionable rotations and substitution patterns and well as still learning/lacking with his in-game management and adjustments such as when to call timeouts and what is executed out of timeouts.
  • Perceived to be laid back (but some also say he is intense enough to compliment that)
  • Would seriously need to paired with a strong offensive lead assistant.

Summing It Up

Good up and coming coach who unjustly got a bad reputation in Minnesota coaching one star surrounded by a bunch of misfits.  Just needs an opportunity with a club that has a decent roster and managment that has a clue.  Has his flaws but isn’t egotisical so he realizes and acknowledges them in order to get better.  Jury is still out whether he is best suited as an assistant coach because of his strong prepatory and player development skills or can legitimately a good head coach (can excel in game with rotations and tactical adjustments).  But the belief by some people is that he can take mediocre roster and overachieve.

I am in agreement with something Pete said to me earlier today.  While my preference is still Tom Thibodeau I will give whoever the coach is a fair chance.

Dwane Casey: More Depth

John Hollinger was a big Casey proponent and was completely dumbfounded when he was fired by Kevin McHale and fools that run that organization.

Here is the article  from Hollinger after Dwane Casey was fired. (my bolding for emphasis of key points)

Can anyone remember the last time a coach took a team that was expected to be lottery-bound, had them at .500 and in line for a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season in a very tough conference, and got fired anyway?

I can’t, which makes Dwane Casey’s dismissal by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday one of the season’s more puzzling events.

Minnesota hired the guy only a year and a half ago, and the same exec who hired him then — team president Kevin McHale — was the one wielding the hatchet today.

Somebody, anybody, please tell me what this guy did wrong.

Casey kept the Wolves in the top half of the league in Defensive Efficiency all season despite basically having only three big men in his rotation — Kevin Garnett, the sporadically motivated Mark Blount and rookie Craig Smith, a second-round draft pick.

You can’t critique Casey’s late-game strategy either: He more than held his own in close games, winning three straight overtime contests earlier this month.

But apparently losing four games in a row — two of which can directly be pinned on Garnett’s ejection against Detroit last Friday and subsequent one-game suspension — was too much for Minnesota’s brass to bear. No matter that the Wolves were 7-5 in January, or that they surprisingly held the West’s No. 8 seed heading into Monday’s games.

Apparently Minnesota management thinks this is still 2003-04 and they’re gunning for the Western Conference title. This would be an absurd notion with almost any other franchise, but the Timberwolves are perhaps the league’s most delusional franchise.

From the lofty contract extensions they’ve handed out to even their most mediocre players, to the way they’ve axed both Flip Saunders (in February 2005) and now Casey rather than admitting the serial imperfections of the roster, to their current refusal to trade Garnett before his value declines, Minnesota’s front office has existed in an alternate state of reality for some time now.

In the early hours after McHale’s move, we’re still hunting down all the skeletons associated with Casey’s firing, but one thing is for certain: There’s a good coach walking around today without a job, and he deserved better.

Let’s hope Casey lands on his feet with one of the many openings that are expected this summer. And in the meantime, let’s hope the Timberwolves can start acting sensible some time before the end of the decade. – John Hollinger

Here is John Hollinger again before the 2007-2008 season (season after Casey was fired) doing his preseason forecast (cut down and abbreviated with just the Dwane Casey antedotes)

A bigger factor, however, was head coach Dwane Casey, who had his undersized team competing far more aptly than anyone had thought possible. To the shock of many, he kept the Wolves in the top half of the league in defensive efficiency through the first half of the season and had Minnesota at 20-16 through 36 games.

While that record was several games better than anyone who covers the league expected, it apparently wasn’t better than the team’s management expected. And when the Timberwolves hit a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 20-20 on Jan. 23, the Wolves made the unbelievable decision to fire Casey — apparently believing their team was capable of much better despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

My favorite quote was Kevin McHale’s complaint that, “We started the season with certain goals and expectations that have not been met.” What pray tell, were the expectations? Casey had the team in the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the West on the day he was fired, something which would have won him coach of the year had he kept it up. But McHale somehow thought his trash heap of undesirable contracts was capable of more. In fact, owner Glen Taylor reportedly told Casey that the team was capable of making it to the Western Conference finals. (This might technically be true, but I couldn’t verify if the Hungarian Basketball Association had split into conferences.)

“We don’t want to be the eighth seed,” McHale said when he fired Casey, and man, did he ever get his wish. Newly instated coach Randy Wittman went 12-30 the rest of the way as Minnesota finished well out of the money. The defense that thrived under Casey almost immediately went in the tank, as the Wolves were one of the league’s bottom three teams in defensive efficiency over the final 42 games.

Moreover, after McHale complained about a lack of consistency in Casey’s tenure, the team failed to win consecutive games after the All-Star break under Wittman. All told, this had to be the most idiotic coaching switch of the past decade. – John Hollinger

Chris Sheridan’s take on Casey’s dismissal from the Wolves:

Today’s dismissal of Dwane Casey appears to me to be a case of “We’d better fire him now while it’s still convenient, because it might not be easier to fire him down the road.”

The Wolves’ current four-game losing streak gave owner Glen Taylor just enough cover to try to justify the change, but this firing had been coming ever since management forced Casey to get rid of trusted assistant Johnny Davis last summer in order to clear the way for Randy Wittman as the ownership-chosen lead assistant. – Chris Sheridan

Dwane Casey Interview with Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Steve Aschburner from January 19, 2007 (right before he was fired) that was sent to me via email.

Dwane Casey was uncomfortable from the start with an interview that would focus solely on him. The Timberwolves had opened 2007 with four consecutive victories, on the way to a 7-1 mark through the first half of January, and the head coach felt a little awkward being placed front and center during the hot streak, lest someone think he was taking credit for all the happy outcomes. Then it was explained to Casey, midway through his second season at the Wolves’ helm, that the Q&A assignment was conceived two weeks earlier. Back when his job, at least to outsiders, was hanging by a slender thread. Back when the Wolves fell behind by 20 points at Charlotte and you’d swear you could almost hear the folding chairs being set up for a dismissal news conference. Oddly, that reassured the coach, who shoulders blame more readily than he takes credit. Casey talked about that trait and others related to his job as Wolves coach over a lunch with Star Tribune NBA writer Steve Aschburner:

Q. One difference in you this season is, you’re a married coach rather than engaged. How has your wife, Brenda, a sports marketing executive, handled the ups and downs?

A. It’s really no different from before. The basketball’s still the same. The focus still is the same. Same time watching tapes. Brenda’s been good – she’s been through it. She understands. She’s a basketball widow. She played basketball, so she knows the game, she knows the time commitment that goes into it. Which makes it a lot easier.

Q. Does she attend the games?

A. When she’s in town. She travels a lot. To Chicago – Brian Urlacher is one of her clients, she does his marketing. Also Ben Wallace.

Q. You give the impression that you’re unflappable. People never see you sweat.

A. Oh no! It’s just that the media part of it doesn’t bother me. Where I feel the lows is when I haven’t done a good job of preparing the team or couldn’t get things done offensively or defensively. When things are not clicking, I take that on myself. More than media coverage or [job] speculation or anything. Really, going through what I went through at Kentucky – that [recruiting] investigation was [publicized 17 years ago] worldwide – really hardened me as far as coverage or negativity. Whatever happens that way, I can’t control it.

Q. It’s fashionable in sports to say, if you win, the players won. If you lost, either the other team won or the coach lost.

A. That’s the age-old adage. I watched what Coach [Joe B.] Hall went through at Kentucky, what Eddie Sutton went through, Tubby Smith. The high-pressure programs are the same as in the NBA: If you win, you’re supposed to. If you don’t, it’s your fault. When you sign up to be a coach in the NBA, I’m a true believer, that’s what we sign up for. That type of criticism, that non-appreciative [view].

Q. How are you different in this job from a year ago?

A. More confident in what we do. More comfortable. Our core guys, the more time we spend together, the better. Same with our coaching staff. We’re coming up on a year [since the Wolves-Boston trade]. And now you add three more guys to the rotation – Mike [James], Craig [Smith] and Randy [Foye] – it’s an ongoing process. We’re no finished product. By getting this time together, coming up on a year, we’re jelling. You can just see the togetherness coming, the trust, as the season goes on.

Q. You’re more secure in your rotation, which means sitting some guys for days on end.

A. Last year, more than anything else, I was searching to see what guys could do. I didn’t know if A.C. [Anthony Carter] could be that point guard. Or Troy [Hudson] or Marko. That was me searching. Now I’m more defined. It’s more set. Not saying those guys are not valuable – I tell them all the time, `You’re a hangnail away from being in the thick of things’ – and I think Troy, Justin [Reed], Eddie [Griffin], Mark Madsen, those guys have done a good job.

Q. So you like all the things that go into being a head coach, rather than an assistant?

A. I don’t enjoy being in the spotlight. If I could just be in the gym, in the locker room and the office and out there for games, I’d love it. No disrespect to [the media], but I love the basketball duties of coaching. I could sit in the gym and talk Xs and Os all day. I do miss the closeness that you get with the players as an assistant coach. The one-on-one work, spending time with the players in the summer.

Q. Granted, an NBA coach who puts himself front and center can have problems. Then again, players need to know who the boss is. How do you balance that?

A. All I can control is playing time. If a guy’s not doing what he’s supposed to do, then he won’t play. I don’t think this is a sledgehammer league. I don’t think you can just browbeat guys – there are way too many games. You have to have a system in place, the way you want to play, and you work on it. But to do it with whip and chain doesn’t work.

Q. The Twin Cities seems to be a market that loves local connections. Yet you have none. Would you be more embraced if you had a Minnesota background?

A. I haven’t thought about that. I know Minnesotans love Minnesota players and ex-players, which they should. That’s a great thing. But Timberwolves fans want to win. Which I do. Time and winning buys you that time to be embraced. And I think Minnesotans appreciate hard work.

Q. How dicey did it get for you in December? There was one rumor circulating that you were within 48 hours of getting fired.

A. That’s the process of coaching. You know going in, you don’t have a lot of time. You want it done yesterday. Every coach in this league knows the position we’re in. There’s no running from it. Forty-eight hours, huh? You just want to make sure you can get it done in the amount of time you’re given.

Q. Some coaches, as a way of surviving, cater to their best players. Since Kevin Garnett is the key guy here, how do you relate to him?

A. Kevin Garnett stands for winning. He wants to be coached, he wants the right information. If he makes a mistake, he knows it before you tell him. Let’s put it this way: I don’t know a head coach in this league who doesn’t have an open line of communication with his star player. Coaching Kevin, will we have disagreements? Yes. But both of you are about the same thing and that’s winning. I don’t have an ego as far as taking the credit. If Kevin sees something out there that works, let’s look at it. You’ve got to have a give-and-take.

Q. How do you let off steam?

A. I love working out. Going to movies. I think coaches need to make sure they stay physically fit: Work out. Eat right. Get their rest. I try at least to work out.

Q. Was the clamor over a possible Allen Iverson trade a distraction?

A. Actually, we had a stretch of games there where we played well. If it affects your team, yes, you’d rather not go through it. But speculation is part of the business. Fans are going to say what they say. You guys have a job to do to report things.

Q. Last question: Were there any days this season when you were reluctant to buy green bananas?

A. No, no. I don’t think in those terms. I just think, what can I do today to turn it around? If today’s work or tonight’s game doesn’t get it done, they can walk in tomorrow and say, `Hey, time’s up.’ If you worry about what tomorrow is going to bring, you’re not taking care of business today. I’ll always be a coach. Somewhere, whether it’s college, high school, overseas or somewhere. But I promise you I do not sit around and worry about the guillotine. That’s when you die a slow death.

Here are some links to check out if you want more:

Well hopefully I provided some insight and more knowledge about the another of the Sixers coaching candidates.  If I find anyting else I will post it in the comment section.  Let the discussion continue.

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  1. jjg says:

    For what it’s worth, I read yesterday (don’t remember specific source offhand) that Casey’s Wolves teams were atrocious coming out of of timeouts – both offensively & defensively.  Mentioned that he had some bad apples, along with a wanting-out Garnett, to deal with.  In general, the blogger (who seemed to have eyewitnessed the team) was uncomplimentary of Casey’s leadership skills and waived his endorsement opportunity – with emphasis.

  2. Dannie says:

    JJG – The gist of what I’ve found is similar.  Guy is better suited as an assistant because his in-game tactical ability is lacking.  Very strong in preparation and player development, but when faced with the need to adjust on the fly doesn’t stack up.

  3. The Real Rob says:

    We need to get some Timberwolves fans here to talk about Dwayne Casey.  During his tenure, that team was having a meltdown.   I think his communication skills are what might be attractive to Stefanski, but I think he is not quite “head coach” worthy. 

    If he does become the head coach, he better bring Japan’s finest with him that are NBA ready. 

    Dannie, in Japanese I say arigatoo-gozaimasu (Thank you)!

  4. deepsixersued says:

    What is the mindset of  E.S.;don!t you interview everybody than bring the ones you like in again. Or is he looking for a diamond in the rough, among the assistants, before bringing in the bigname guys. I liked Avery but too good to go through the process, that is not what I want to here.

  5. L.A. Steve says:

    All I know is,  as a Tom Thibodeau supporter,  this cannot be taken as a good sign, because a second interview almost always leads to a job offer.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m surprised, it’s a typical Sixer move, which means it’s unconventional.  All conventional logic says that if your going to select an assistant as your next head coach, Tom Thibodeau is the logical choice.  Everyone who has ever worked with him raves about his skills, and his work ethic.  Nineteen years of contiguous NBA experience translates into a situation where he knows the league inside and out, from both a coaching and a personnel perspective.   He has had about as much success as any assistant coach could have, and this experience has provided him the requisite skills to become a successful head coach.   But it appears that it’s not enough for Ed.  He wants a smooth talker, a “communicator”, not some guy who actually knows the intricacies and nuances of coaching the NBA game. 

    In my opinion, the honeymoon is over for Ed Stefanski, the “Philly Guy” stuff  has worn thin.  From now on he’ll be judged on his moves, and selecting  Dwayne Casey is definitely a “reach”.   One thing about coaching, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it shows quickly.  And let’s be honest he didn’t show much while he was in charge at  Minnesota, which explains why he was fired so quickly.  However, I will say this, if Ed does pick this guy it will be a ballsy move, I’ll give him that much, intelligent no,  ballsy yes. 

  6. The Greek says:

    Agreed L.A. Steve,  this is a typical Sixers move.  The hex of that Moses trade still looms large over the city of Philadelphia.

    Dannie looking forward to seeing what you can dig up on this cat.

    JJG, that one time that you were wrong in 1987.  Do you remember what you were wrong about?  lol

  7. Sean says:

    Well, from what i’ve heard from some people who know some people, the sixers loved both Casey and Thibodeau, and I really think Thibodeau will get another interview too.   They actually liked Thibodeau more, so I think that this is more a matter of whittling down the finalists, than any real selection.  I trust the source because he mentioned the Avery issue to me last week, well before any of the local media brought it up.  So, let’s not jump to conclusions just yet

  8. deepsixersued says:

    Greek, just finished a Pat Williams book and got more depressed. You wanna know what Detroit offered for Moses? Liambeer,Tripucka, V.Johnson and the draft pick that became J.Salley. Do you think a young Barkley could of won with that cast?

  9. deepsixersued says:

    Sean, I hope you are right.

  10. The Greek says:

    Damn Suede, were such a horsesh%t of an organization.

  11. deepsixersued says:

    Dannie, I appreciate your hard work, good info. I always liked the way E.Sutton teams played and read a few different times about J.B. Hall!s rules, which were for everybody. I feel better about him now knowing who he worked and played under. I never could grasp exactly how good a coach G.Karl is but loyalty runs deep in the Carolina bloodlines. Could you give me your opinion of E.S.!s thought process in bringing in a candidate for a 2nd interview if he truly wants to talk to the big name guys. And is Kuester going to come in when Cleveland finishes.

  12. Dave T says:

    Dannie, great summary of the various views on Dwayne Casey.

    I think we should remember that just because he’s called back for a 2nd interview does not mean the Sixers will in any way hire the man.  I’d be absolutely shocked if they signed Casey, no way it happens.  He is a proven assistant that was just beginning to do a pretty good job when he got the axe…to me, hiring him would still be an unknown gamble, and while he’s paid his time being in the league as assistanet and with a small head coaching stint…no way a team looking to get back to championship contending status hires him.  I’d imagine he’ll float up again on a really crappy NBA looking to get better, where their goal is just making the playoffs.  

    Another thing to mention with Casey’s TWolf days is that KG certainly was not a huge fan.  He wasn’t a non-fan either by all accounts…but I remember a lot of articles talking about how KG was annoyed to begin with that they hired a rookie coach that year, and that when they switched to Wittman he was pretty non-chalant about it.  

    KG had also said something at the time about liking Casey’s dedication to the game and the time he put in, but when Wittman was hired I specifically remember KG not going out of his way at all to be complimentary of Dwayne, or to defend him.  He didn’t seem affected one way or the other…then again, that could be because he was about to murder the entire Timberwolves management staff by then anyway.

    Kurt Rambis:  Real GM reported Rambis is no longer in the running.

  13. dre says:

    L.A. Steve - I kinda agree with the essence of your comment but not the tone. ” I can’t say that I’m surprised, it’s a typical Sixer move, which means it’s unconventional”. “A Nineteen years of contiguous NBA experience guy” without getting the top job ever versus a guy that atleast had some success during his lone chance, either choice is definitely a “reach”.  

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s hard for me to like or dislike TT or Casey. I’m SHOCKed that Bill Laimbeer’s name has not come up. If Ed wants a championship resume’ why not talk to this guy? Can it be that much different coaching in the WNBA?  

  14. Dannie says:

    Jasner is reporting that Eddie Jordan was interviewed a second time as well now. And that there is reason to believe Tom Thibodeau is no longer in the running but Chris Ford is. But I think that is just his own speculation.

    Also that Avery Johnson officially turned down the Sixers to stay with ESPN.

  15. Dannie says:

    Suede – Kuester is a name I’ve heard but not directly in conjunction with the Sixers at this point.  He is another of those up and coming assistants that will eventually get a head coaching try out.  So is Mike Budenholzer long time Spurs assistant.

    Right now I have no clue what is going through Ed’s head.  Wait I shouldn’t say that.  I do know one thing he is probably thinking… “this is the biggest decision of my tenure with the Sixers and will directly determine whether I remain GM here so I better get it right.”  Think he feels a degree of pressure with this decision because while we know they aren’t a contender they MUST make a observable improvement next season with a healthy roster, the #17 pick and one marginally significant free agent (if Andre Miller isn’t resigned).  This coaching choice plays a big role in that.  Will be his 3rd coach in a very short period of time.  That’s not a good thing because after a while of hiring and firing coaches in a short period of time the next finger is pointed directly at the GM.

    He has been much more active (to my knowledge) than the King’s front office with interviewing candidates. 

    The characteristics of the next head coach he gave were too generic to have significant meaning for me.  At least when we interview ppl at my job we have a clear picture of the type person that is successful in the position we are hiring for based on our experience and almost immediately can tell if they are or could be an A player specifically for us immediately after the interview. 

    While I think he is being thorough with good reason I also think he is interviewing all these people (now multiple times) because he may not really have a clear front runner before this started or have a clear clue who he wants now and is hoping the decision is made for him (more so at least) by candidates self selecting themselves out directly (Wright and Johnson) or indirectly by flat out sucking or showing a poor fit through the interview process. 

    If he doesn’t interview and at least consider an experienced head coach like Collins or JVG (one of two you know would accept an interview unlike Avery) I think it suggests he doesn’t want a head strong coach when it comes to their interactions with management.  I do think he wants a tough coach on the players though.  AND that he probably that in his own mind he doesn’t think this team is a contender now.  Because if you thought you legitimately had the talent to get there now the more experienced coach probably makes more sense since there won’t be as much learning on the job at the head coaching position.

  16. deepsixersued says:

    Dannie this is what I am reading into this; Jordan will be hired as the head coach with Casey as his head assistant and defensive game coach, which could work. Is Casey the top ass. at Dallas and if so would he do a lateral move ? Maybe E.S. is combining his requirements and sees Casey!s strengths as developing young guys and defensive details and E.Jordan as a guy that can make this group offensively efficient. Would Jordan be okay with E.S. picking his lead ass. if he brings in the rest of his staff?

  17. Dannie says:

    I don’t know if Dwane Casey or Terry Stotts is the lead assistant with the Mavericks.  They may be on equally footing. 

    Both have over 10 years coaching experience and have NBA head coaching experience.  Stotts coached Atlanta for almost 2 seasons and was the head coach of the Bucks for two seasons leading them to their last playoff appareance in ’05-’06.

  18. Dannie says:

    A source close to him said he would be surprised if Van Gundy landed in Philadelphia, adding that Van Gundy generally wanted input on player-personnel decisions. – Kate Fagan

    Again all speculation but another hint that Stefanski doesn’t plan on having heavy input from the new coach on player decisions and that will definitely impact how strongly a veteran head coaching candidate will be considered more than the assistants.

  19. The Real Rob says:

    Now if the Sixers do hire a former assistant coach such as Dwayne Casey, they better go the Vinny Del Negro way and get experienced assistant coaches (ex- head coaches) to guide him and help the team establish better offense and defense.  For a coach, picking your assistant coaches is just as important as a president picking his or her cabinet and the vice president.  The Sixers need that Joe Biden type of guy(s) willing to be vocal and effective, instead of twidling their thumbs on the bench.  There are many assistant coaches out there that are more loud and outspoken than the head coach himself. 

  20. RRose says:

    Didn’t the Sixers make this same mistake by hiring Dileo? Someone with little if any head coach experience.  He did coach overseas but that’s not the NBA. To me hiring a guy with 1-2 years coaching experience doesn’t do much in the way of change.   Its hard for me to root for another retread coach, but its even harder for me to root for a guy who has never done it on the big stage as the lead dog successfully.  I think players in the league know who the good coaches are and who aren’t.  I wonder if ES would respect what other players say having competed against other teams or having played under that coaches scheme.  

    What’s strange to me about some of this process is that, Collins is a broadcaster now.  Its not like ES has to wait for him to finish the season in order to interview.  Same with JVG.  That to me is telling.  Unless he’s interviewed them and noone knows it,  its almost as if they aren’t really candidates.    Maybe ES has his poker face on waiting for the Kings to hire someone so he can take either Jordan or TT off his list without the publics backlash on who we think he should select.  Next time someone sees ES walking down the street or having lunch at some restaurant, kick him in the azz and say hurry up already.

  21. Dannie says:

    RRose – Remember they didn’t technically “hire” Tony Dileo.  He just got different duties with the same salary.

    Who do you want to be the coach if not an assistant?

  22. The Real Rob says:

    Charles Barkley recommends Eddie Jordan for the Sixers.


  23. Tom Moore says:

    Impressive amount of info, Dannie.

    Sounds like Stefanski wants to talk to Collins (and perhaps Van Gundy), but nothing is scheduled with Collins, according to his agent.

  24. RRose says:

    Dannie,  I would be interested in Collins as my choice.  He has a Sixers backround.  He was a tough coach, he coached MJ and I think he would demand hard work and excellence from the star players on this team.  Now I’m not opposed to TT.  He seems to have a great track record.  However Collins as the coach would sell tickets.  People would come to see him coach this team. Let’s face it, its all about selling tickets.  The real big picture.  One issue or concern is I think Collins slept with someone’s wife in Chicago.  (could be wrong) Maybe that’s why he doesn’t have a job yet.

  25. Ryan F says:

    Tom Thibodeau

  26. jjg says:

    Friar Stefanski seems to want to talk to the finest lap dog with the best digestible resume for near-future public consumption.  Sorry if the news disappoints.  It appears he wants to call all personnel shots and, also, choose team playing style.  Not good.  Great coaches are given free reign to pick their players; revamp the roster, if necessary.  Name me one outstanding executive decision Stefanski  has made since arriving that has boosted the Sixers as a basketball force and as a market commodity.  “Run before they see our holes” doesn’t count.  Brand, Speights and Ivey don’t count (as their impact has been negligible).  I suspect he knows his job teeters on the high fence of his pending head coach selection; reason for the drawn out mini-drama.  He’s been a Prism TV broadcaster, a mortgage company proprietor, an NBA scout and a NJ Nets/Rod Thorn right hand man … how did this guy ever get the keys to our storied franchise?  What has he ever done to get to run my team into the ground?  So far, he’s shown to be mediocre – at best.  The list of (eventual) losers he’s considering and inviting back for 2nd interviews should tell you all you need to know about Stefanski’s GM perspicacity.  Tom, if ES truly wanted Collins or JVG, he’d have courted them sooner and with more fervor than has been reported.  To date, the selection process has been highly questionable, especially from a PR perspective.  (The season ticket sales numbers at this point would be interesting.)  I have zero confidence in his act, and want a better qualified person to lead the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers.  Enough of the hometown cotton.   

  27. deepsixersued says:

    Jumpin, the type of coach!s you mentioned are becoming extinct, like the dinosaurs.I hate the term “players coach”. It bemoans a lack of respect if not coddled. I am hoping we get the next “Pop” from among the assistants but if not, you won!t have to worry about E.S., because he will be following the new coach out of tow.

  28. Dannie says:

    RRose – I think Doug Collins is WAY overrated as a coach in my opinion and I really have no idea why.  What has he really done?  A conference finals appearance with MJ and only two total first round playoff wins.  Nice regular season record.

    I have been saving my thoughts on Collins until he legitimately became a candidate.  If that happens I will write a post.

    Love him as an analyst and think he is a nice coach.  Not sure he is the right coach.

  29. jjg says:

    Dannie,  He beats Tom Thibodeau by a country mile imo.  Has the heft and know-how that a former Olympian, NBA All-Star and coach of Michael carries.  Sixers need a highly-confident and experienced person to push and manage them.  If not Collins, Johnson (who may become interested through $ and serious courtship) or J. Van Gundy.  

  30. Dannie says:

    Honestly I don’t think any of the names we have been talking about beats anyone of the competition by a country mile.  None are championship coaches and at the end of the day it only matters what they will do with the Sixers.

    Sixers need a coach to maximize the talent Stefanski is prepared to give him.  I could care less how he goes about doing it.  Just do it.

  31. Dannie says:

    Contradiction in the front office?

    “He’s narrowing it down. I’m sure we’ll be with it in the near future. There’s no deadline, but we want to be done by the draft [June 25]. We’re getting closer.” – Peter Luukko, COO of Comcast-Spectacor

    Stefanski said it didn’t matter if they had the coach by the draft because the coach wouldn’t need/have much input in that decision.  Why then is the COO saying they want it done by the draft?

    Also says that Luuko has met with both Casey and Jordan.  Clearly those guys are further along in the process at this point.

  32. jjg says:

    The 3 I named have gotten a helluva lot closer to a championship than your choice, Thibodeau, who’s never helmed an NBA team for unreported,  mysterious reasons, provided he’s so damn talented.

  33. guest says:

    Apparently Charles Barkley votes for Jordan to get the job?  Interesting.  

  34. jjg says:

    Where’s Hal Greer when we need him?  BEST medium-range jump shot I have EVER seen.  Money, from 15-18.  Never got his due from organization.  I wonder what’s the story there.  Number 15.  Great. 

  35. Dannie says:

    And like I’ve said before where is the next great coach likely to come from?  Guys who have had talent to work with, tried, come close but never got it done.  Or the guy that showed nice potential as an assistant and will be getting his first chance to lead a team.  Gotta start somewhere.  Give me the fresh face.

  36. jjg says:

    Point taken; am not aligned with.

  37. jjg says:

    Funny guy and former great player, but I wouldn’t let Charles Barkley order my breakfast.

  38. Dave T says:


    Disagree with your point at #35.  Isn’t taking that viewpoint selling a coach’s ability short that can continually get a team far into the playoffs?  So many variables come into play in the 2nd of the playoffs and onward…specifically, matchups and injuries…that often a coach gets slammed undeservedly.  

    Is it D’Antoni’s fault that a 20/10 player was not allowed to play in the San Ant. series because of a ridiculous ejection?  Was it Don Nelson’s fault that the Mavs didn’t make the Conf. finals in the early 00′s because Dirk got injured, and that D’Antoni gets extra credit because they played a banged up Mavs team?  Is it Eddie Jordan’s fault that he had THREE ALL STARS injured every year of his tenure, and that the one (and first) season Arenas Butler and Jamison did play healthy, it was only for a half season and they were on pace to win 50+ games?  

    I also think it’s a bit shortsighted (just my opinion) to think that a coach has reached his coaching ceiling after just one stint.  Most teachers and leaders take years to grow into their roles where they feel completely comfortable and confident in their abilities.  I’d argue that one or two moderately successful stints and then a firing is a fine thing to have on a resume; one would hope the coach is constantly evolving and learning from his mistakes, and that he will improve even more the next time around and be more motivated to succeed (Avery, Van Gundy).  

    I think with rookie coach’s you have to go by reputation and who they’ve assisted for.  So in this scenario, I certainly think Thibodeau is right on par with a good (highlight “good”) coaching re-tread.  But to toss a total rookie out there…a la Del Negro for Chicago or someone like that, I personally think is a ridiculous hire.  

    If you can take someone that has legit experience that has proven he can make some positives on the court, I’ll take that over inexperience any day of the week.  Whole different ball game when an assistant becomes a head coach, and there is always an unknown there that is a % of a gamble.  

    That said…there are many retreads that are NOT good and are just obvious mediocre talent that keeps floating around.  Brian Hill, PJ Carlamieso, Musselman, T Porter, etc…these are guys I would not want to hire because they didn’t particularly prove all that much during their tenures, even though their teams were .500.  Hence me not loving Casey; he’s still an unknown.  Half a season of the T-Wolves overachieving at .500 (one hell of a feat) is not enoug to convince me he is the stud we need.  Anyone can sweet talk anyone in a front office…I’m sure that’s how Doc originally got his Magic job.  

    But Avery, Collins, Van Gundy, and Jordan, while not having one rings or done huge damage in the playoffs, are all veteran coaches that have PROVEN to work.  I want someone in that fold.  

  39. The Real Rob says:

    I want to give a shout out to Doug Collins and I hope his wife is alright (she had a rapid heartbeat, according to TNT)!  Hopefully, we Sixers fans will be seeing them in Philadelphia!!

  40. Sean says:

    None of the retreads impress me.  None earn the title of Great Coach, especially not JVG or Avery, who got severely outcoached twice.  Give me the fresh face, Thibs or Casey.  They might be something.

  41. RRose says:

    I don’t mind fresh faces.. Rookie players are fresh faces too.  I want a winner at the coaching position.  A winning coach.  Not some guy who never got it done.  At what point do we and this team strive for excellence and stop settling for any old thing.  No more of these mediocre coaches and players who never impressed anywhere else.  If we plucked a winning high profile coach from the college ranks I’d be ok with that.  I just want proven success.  If Casey goes 5-16 to start we’ll all be wondering what heck happened. 

    They aren’t inventing the light bulb or the wheel.  Maybe the reason some of the higher profile coaches declined is because they weren’t tops on ES list to begin with.  He needs to court a good coach like a hot chick.  Buy them drinks, smooze them, flowers, whatever it takes.  Besides Cheeks and LB who was the last good coach on this team really.. And Cheeks was ok, good might be a stretch.

  42. The Real Rob says:

    Thanks for the input Dannie!

  43. Dave T says:

    RRose:  Maurice Cheeks, by any stretch of any imagination, is not a good coach.  

    Sean:  I’m sure JVG and Avery got outcoached FAR more than twice.  It is impossible not to get outcoached at some point or another in a league that plays 82 games over the course of a regular season, and potentially another 25 or so during the playoffs.   I do not understand judging coaches who are regularly finding success with their teams that don’t get over the hump.  It’s one thing if you have a team full of good players that is healthy and they aren’t getting out of the 1st round every year.  

    But to go DEEP in the playoffs, AND find regular season success, and then blame the coaches?  Avery certainly bungled the G-State matchup.  He was psyched out and let Nellie get to his head.  He made a mistake.  He’s one of the youngest coaches in the league, he’ll learn from it.  He’s proved himself to be nothing but a tough, demanding coach that greatly understands X & O’s, how to improve team defense, how to utilize his team’s players to put them in the best situations possible to score, and getting your pansi ass star player to actually grow a backbone and get in the paint to score.  Gee, yeah, horrible traits to have in a lead coach.  

    Avery was a PG for 15 years in the league.  He was a young coach and naturally fell into overcoaching.  He made mistakes in the Nellie series.   Yet I’d bet a lot of money that given all the time to reflect and be in the broadcasting booth Avery has learned, and will GROW as a coach.  This mentality that “a coach is a coach, and they can’t change!” is absurd to me.  Just like players…they change, they grow, they adapt, they work harder, they improve…with dedication.  Avery clearly has that, as well as good instincts for the game.  

    JVG took over one of the most heated, stressful and ridiculous coaching situations in NYC and miraculously got that team to the finals.  He had the NYC team since Riley’s departure playing tough nosed, defensive, TEAM basketball.  He did the same with the Rockets…yet when you have what is a top 10 talent in the league perennially injured (T-Mac), with a weak supporting cast, and you still win 45 and 51 games.  After his 34 win season in year 3, I don’t think he had to be fired, but it made sense for the Rockets to make that move, and it’s paid off.  

    But take a good long hard look at the roster JVG had in his first two years coaching…year 1 was Stevie Franchise, Mobley, a very young Yao, and some roler players like Mo Taylor, J Jackson and an aging Clarence Weatherspoon.  How far is this team going in the playoffs?  I’d say this is a 2nd round team TOPS, and honestly more like a 1st round team…JVG gets 45 wins with them, and they play who in the 1st round?  The juggernaut 03-04 Lakers team with Kobe, Shaq, Malone and Payton…all finally healthy again.  JVG’s inferior team lost to a superior team.  Not his fault.

    04-05…T-Mac’s first year playing with Yao…which 85% of the time, unlike Boston, takes time to adjust and gel when you have two mega stars learning to play with each other.  They win 51 games…a very good record for their first year together.  I’d call this a very solid 2nd round playoff team.  The problem: this year the Mavericks were starting to do really well under Avery Johnson (58 wins), and the West that year, the year before, and the year after would be all about the heated Spurs-Mavs teams.  No one else was entering that equation.  A far superior 58 win Mavs team beat a very good JVG 51 win team in the 1st round.  

    Oh, and after T-Mac and Yao…the Rockets other players logging regular minutes in the 51 win year were: an absurdly over the hill Jim Jackson, Bobby Sura, Mike James, David Wesley (way over the hill), Juwan Howard (way over the hill) and Mo Taylor (out of the league).  JVG didn’t beat the 58 win Mavericks with this team?  Is this shocking to anybody?

    05-06:  The first year T-Mac and Yao both starting becoming perrennially injured.  Sometimes they were healthy, sometimes one was hurt and the other healthy, then vice versa, sometimes both hurt.  Not.  The coach’s.  Fault.  

    I’d say one of the only really legitimate times when I can remember a coach being justly fired when he was regularly getting his team 50 win seasons and far into the playoffs was Detroit firing Rick Carlisle for Larry Brown.  And in that case, you needed to aim high and go for the hall of fame coach to get that team bumped from Eastern Conf Finals to NBA finals two years in a row.  LB’s pedigree spoke for itself.

    But we are talking about Mo f*cking Cheeks and Tony DiLeo.  Chris Ford and Jim O’Brien.  Not exactly top dawgs in the coaching sphere.  Avery Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Eddie Jordan would all make fine replacements and be a HUGE boost for our commander in chief to get our nutty players on the same page.  Doug Collins…I feel he knows the game inside and out, but as Dannie said his slightly above mediocre showings with his three teams, and intense to the point of turning his players off tendencies worry me.

    For the rooks…Thibodeau and Budenholzter make the best candidates because they’ve been assistants for long, long times under hall of fame coaches, or have proven to be key cogs in their teams’ success as assistants.  

    Anyone else, I don’t know why we’d seriously consider.  

  44. Sean says:

    Here is my thing with Avery:  From published reports, he did not want to interview, he wanted the job to be offered to him.  That suggests a level of Ego that really repels me.  Avery got outcoached in each of his last 3 play-offs series, failing to make the adjustments that would bring victory, even though he had the better team, with the greater talent.

    JVG has not gotten out of the 1st round since he had Ewing and is tied to Riley’s Knick philosophy no matter who is on the roster.  During the end of his Knick era, he had a team with a young Camby, Prime Spreewell, Houston, Rice, Childs and Larry Johnson.  That is a team that needs to push the ball, but he had them playing at the SLOWEST pace in the league, because that was his philosophy.  They got bounced in the 1st round.  After watching Adelman’s success in Houston with his same roster, he himself said he could never gotten that team that far, especially on offense.  JVG is a good coach, but I’d rather take the chance on somebody who has great ideas but was never given a real chance then a retread.  Practically every great coach was a nobody at some time. 

  45. cwither says:

    well, Eddie Jordan is our man. How do you guys feel about it? I don’t feel to bad about the pick. I’m waiting on the dannie breakdown of him to give my final word.

  46. The Greek says:


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