At this point we’re not even sure if Tony DiLeo is going to lose his job. You can easily make a case for both sides of that argument. We’d lean more toward the side of the argument that says the late season collapse and the dreadful Game 6 effort are evidence that it’s time for him to go, but we would not be furious if DiLeo was patrolling the Sixers sideline again next year. Still even though he technically is still the 76ers head coach, there has been a lot of talk about who should replace DeLio.
When / if DiLeo gets relieved of his coaching duties, the one name we keep hearing mentioned as a possible replacement for DiLeo is former Dallas head coach and current ESPN analyst Avery Johnson. There seems to be a good deal of momentum building for Avery in print, or the radio and on the streets. here in Philly. We believe that Eddie Jordan is a more logical choice given Stefanski’s and Jordan’s ties to the Nets organization, but Johnson suddenly seems like real a possibility.
One thing is for sure. Johnson would be a drastic change from the Cheeks-DiLeo era. Johnson has a strong reputation as a disciplinarian who believes that players must buckle down on defense or they’ll sit. Discipline and defense are things that has been lacking in Philly. Defense was a constant point of contention with his teams in Dallas. In fact in his last year there it has been reported that players on the Mavs grew so tired of his harsh ways that a couple of them almost went “Sprewell” on Johnson. The Sixers sure could use some discipline, especially on the defensive end of the floor, but how much would be too much?
Johnson only head coaching job was in Dallas where he won 66 of his first 82 games, which was four more wins than any other coach in league history had through 82 games. He was also the fastest coach to reach the 150-win mark. He has three sixty win seasons and four consecutive post season appearances on his resume Johnson also the piloted the Mavs to a trip to the 2006 NBA Finals where he and Dirk & Co. blew a 2-0 series lead, and eventually lost the series when they got screwed by the Dwyane Wade love-fest the refs showed the Miami Heat in Games 6 & 7 . Of course in 2007 Johnson was also at the helm of the Mavs when they lost to the eighth seeded Golden State Warriors in what many will argue is the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history. Finally, in the 2008 NBA Playoffs Johnson’s Mavs were again shown the door in the first round, this time by CP3 and the NOH. By that point the rift between Johnson and the Mavs players as well as owner Mark Cuban was obvious to anyone watching on TV.
Johnson is an interesting study in that he has had great regular season success, while post season results that are all over the place. It should be noted that he accomplished all of this with a roster stacked with the likes of Dirk, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd / Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse and Brandon Bass. However, he also accomplished all of this in the much deeper Western Conference.
Why are we laying this all out for you? To help you decide if Avery Johnson is a good fit for the Sixers. Need more evidence?
Well on Tuesday Avery took to the airwaves here in Philadunkia nation as a guest of Jody Mac’s on 950 ESPN Radio and among the things Johnson talked about was the 76ers. Here’s what he had to say about the current state of the 76ers:
“…the experiment with Iguodala at the two position was going to be a failed experiment from the beginning. Iguodala is a NBA three.”
“…You have a back up point guard in Louis Williams who with a little more experience could be explosive…Louis Williams has the potential to be a starter.”
“…Andre Miller…his best days are behind him so it’s probably best to move forward with Louis Williams at that spot”
“…your greatest concern is at the two-spot. Willie Green is a nice role player. I don’t think he is a starting two-guard.”
“…at center, if Dalembert is going to be a starter, a full-time starter, he’s going to have to give you something on both ends of the floor every night. But I am not sure that is going to happen.”
Asked if the Sixers have a player on the roster who can step up and be a leader …”No. No. They do not have that player yet. Now obviously with the significant investment the Sixers have made in Iguoadala I ams ure they are hoping that down the road as he continues to grow and mature they are hoping he can be that player.”