Sunday, March 29, 2015

76ers' slow coaching search may favor Michael Curry

The Sixers coaching search has been unquestionably quiet so far this summer, and reports have surfaced recently stating that the selection might not be made until after the NBA Draft on June 27.

76ers' slow coaching search may favor Michael Curry

Michael Curry. (Morry Gash/AP)
Michael Curry. (Morry Gash/AP)

The Sixers coaching search has been unquestionably quiet so far this summer, and reports have surfaced recently stating that the selection might not be made until after the NBA Draft on June 27.  

Although it seems that the team should want a coach in place as soon as possible in order to provide input on draft decisions and roster moves, the fact that the draft is only a little over a week away leads one to believe that such reports are accurate.

Some said that the slowness of the search was just the Sixers waiting for the right man, like Brian Shaw perhaps. But, it has been a couple weeks now since Shaw’s Pacers were pushed out of the playoffs, and while several teams have entertained the idea of Shaw, the Sixers name hasn’t popped up among them.

Shaw, who was in the running for the Nets head coaching vacancy until they got all nostalgic over Jason Kidd, is now being mentioned as a prime candidate for the Nuggets job. Meanwhile, the Sixers and their new basketball brain, Sam Hinkie, remain tight-lipped about every aspect of the organization, except for the color of the jerseys.

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Although names of up-and-coming assistants, like Miami’s David Fizdale and Denver's Melvin Hunt are continuously popping up as top targets, the casual demeanor with which the Sixers have approached the search leads me to believe that they may already have their man, and he may already be in the organization.

Several of the organization's key players, including their lone all-star Jrue Holiday, have already voiced their support for current assistant coach Michael Curry. As qualified coaching candidates continue to be snatched up by other teams, it is becoming increasingly clear that Curry may be the man.

"I've known him for the last three years, he's somebody I trust, and somebody I'd love as a head coach," Holiday stated. "I think he was the glue to our team last year. Obviously we were defensive-based, which is big for us. That was our calling card, and Mike was responsible for that."

Having the support of the players is a big plus for Curry, as is already being familiar with the franchise and the system that they have been using. Curry also fits the "hungry assistant" role, aside from an unsuccessful season-long stint as the head coach of the Pistons in 2008-09.

Curry is adept at developing young players, which will be key for the Sixers' next coach. The team has a young core, and will need to continue adding young players through the draft in hopes of contending over the coming seasons. This was not a strength of former coach Doug Collins.

The next coach will also have to determine what to do with the enigma that is Evan Turner. While still very young and extremely talented, Turner has had trouble fitting in with the franchise and the team needs to figure out if he is part of the long-term plan.

Turner has also voiced his support for Curry, and speaks of him as someone he can relate to.

If Turner remains on the roster, having a coach that can get through to him and help develop his game, something Collins could not always do, will be invaluable.

"I think it would be great for the organization. We respect Mike," Turner stated. "He was great because he was calm in certain situations.  He never really panicked. That's something that players need."

Curry has the patience for young players and seems eager to spearhead a rebuilding movement; not something all coaches could say.

So while names of various assistants are constantly being brought up and qualified candidates are being signed left and right, the puzzling slowness of the Sixers search would seem to make more sense if they already had their guy.

If Curry is their man, then why they are waiting to make the move is anyone’s guess. Considering the players’ support and his familiarity with the franchise, Curry may look like the logical selection.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain Assistant Sports Producer
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