Why Mo Cheeks Matters


Ed Stefanski has now put the final piece in place. With the extending of coach Mo Cheeks' contract, the Sixers' general manager has dotted the last i and crossed the last t. He has wrought a revolution around here in the last few months, and he has ended the first act wisely.

Stefanski arrived in town with two thoughts: play the kids and play faster. And they did, successfully. Stefanski arrived at the off-season with one thought: Elton Brand. And he got him. A lot has changed in a short time. A lot of good things have happened. But in the whirl, there has been a recognition here. Amid all of the change, there is now some calming punctuation.

That is Cheeks, who played the kids and adopted a faster style and made it work along with his staff, led by assistant Jim Lynam. To point out that it was a transition on the fly is to understate it -- and to witness the sudden success of the new vistion, from late January on to the playoffs, was to be left in open-mouthed wonder.

Now Brand offers so many possiblilities with his low-post excellence. Stefanski clearly recognized that it was simply time to allow that to work -- to see the effect on newly-minted zillionaire Andre Iguodala on the outside and on the often-enigmatic Samuel Dalembert on the inside. There will be some navigating here, and some adjusting. They will try things and discard things and work the clay. They need some time now to do that. They need some calm, professional hands now -- and that is Cheeks and his staff.

There has been enough change. Now they have a framework in which we can watch it work. That is why Mo Cheeks matters.