The common train of thought surrounding the current Sixers coaching search is that the team is trying to target a fresh basketball mind, as opposed to an established individual. It is assumed that the Sixers want an assistant of some sort, who is eager to break into the big time, with a set of fresh ideas and the patience to help the Sixers right the ship.
In short, they don’t want another Doug Collins. Or Larry Brown.
They don’t want a coach that is going to kill the team with over-enthusiasm and expectations, and they certainly don’t need another coach opposed to developing young talent.
Instead, a coach who is willing to adapt, adjust, allow young players to mature, and is well in-tune with today’s style of NBA basketball would be ideal. So, the idea of an ‘up-and-comer’ search makes sense.
Brian Shaw, an assistant with the Pacers is a popular name, but he will have several suitors for the Sixers to compete with this summer. There are other options outside of Shaw, but one candidate the Sixers may consider isn’t any sort of assistant, but instead he was the head coach of one of the NBA’s most exciting playoff teams this season.
The Sixers would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t at least do their due diligence and talk to Vinny Del Negro. Yes he has taken a lot of heat for poor roster rotations and maybe giving Chris Paul a little bit too much control, but he also led the Clippers to their best record in franchise history while handling some of the biggest stars in the game.
Yes, Del Negro e has been outcoached in the playoffs by some of the league’s elite. But at this point playoff performance shouldn’t be the team’s biggest concern, considering they just need a coach to get them there first.
Just as players improve and expand, so do coaches. So while he hasn’t led any deep playoff runs, Del Negro's teams have reached the postseason in four out of his five seasons as a head coach, with an impressive overall record of 210-184. While resumes only carry a certain amount of weight, Del Negro’s is short and solid.
At the relatively ripe age of 46, Del Negro could serve as a long-term solution if the two sides were able to find some success and grow together. It may not be a match, but it can’t hurt to talk to one of the more successful coaches currently available.