As you may have read, on Sunday the 76ers head coach search committee met with former Detroit Piston “Bad Boy” and current Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Bill Laimbeer. The Sixers interview count has now reached six candidates and it appears it will continue to grow. Here at Philadunkia we are evenly divided over who should be the next Sixers head coach — Larry Brown or Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. Yet both sides here at the Philadunkia offices agree that Laimbeer is a very intriguing candidate who could be a good fit as the Sixers next head coach.
After the interview with Laimbeer, Sixers GM Ed Stefanski released the following statement: “…Bill Laimbeer’s credentials as a player and success as a coach – including three championships in six seasons in the WNBA – speaks for itself. We want to thank Bill for meeting with us.” That’s not exactly a glowing review by Stefanski. In fact that quote registered somewhere below the typical, scripted “sensitive topic” quote generated by the PR department. However we’d like to provide Stefanski with a few reasons why he should give Laimbeer serious consideration for the Sixers head coaching job.
Obviously we all remember Laimbeer as the physical and emotional leader of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boy” teams during the late 1980s and early 1990s — teams which changed the style of play in the NBA while winning back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. All of the traits that made Laimbeer so hated by fans across the League during his “Bad Boy” days could be exactly the things that would make him a great coach for the Sixers. Here’s five examples of what we mean…
1) Toughness — The 76ers team lacks a hint of this vital element from one-through-twelve. On the other hand, Laimbeer epitomized that trait during his playing days. There’s no doubt in our minds that Laimbeer would quickly turn this roster of cupcakes into a team with a physical presence. If you have doubts, take a look at the list of players Laimbeer came to blows with during his career — Robert Parish, Bob Lanier, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley — to name a few. Laimbeer had no fear of anyone in the NBA during his time.
2) Rebounding— The 76ers are flat out awful at rebounding (21st in the NBA this past season). As the Pistons’ all-time leader in rebounds, the 1985-86 NBA rebounding champ (13.1 rpg.) and a player that amassed more then 10,000 rebounds in his career, Laimbeer certainly could teach the Sixers a thing or two about cleaning the glass. Laimbeer’s special talent for defensive rebounding (From 1982 to 1990 no player in the League totaled more defensive rebounds.), is a skill set that the Sixers desperately need to acquire .
3) Defense— The Pistons “Bad Boy” teams were well known for their solid, physical, no easy baskets defense and while that style may not fly in the current day NBA, the Sixers could certainly learn a thing or two from Laimbeer on that end of the floor. Of special interest to us is the fact that Laimbeer would be very effective in correcting the Sixers inability to protect the paint and rotate from the help side down low.
4) Heart— If you need a detailed explanation here, then you simply don’t know the current 76ers very well or the history of the NBA. The 2009-10 Sixers were the League’s version of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, while Laimbeer, well, he was the lead “Bad Boy” and owns two NBA championship rings. ‘Nuff said.
5) Discipline— One could argue that Laimbeer was not the most disciplined player during his days in the NBA and we wouldn’t say that you were wrong, but he knew his rol and put the team goals first. So we have little doubt that unlike the last two player friendly Sixers head coaches (Mo Cheeks and Eddie Jordan), Laimbeer would hold players accountable for their mistakes on and off the court. For example, the days of showing up late to practice — a chronic problem with some players in Philly over the last two years — would quickly become a thing of the past. Additionally, we’re willing to bet that a no BS coach like Laimbeer frowns upon not being prepared for games or failing to execute on the floor. Thus not knowing or flat out blowing your assignment (on either end of the floor) would become a punishable offense on the Sixers. That would be a refreshing change for this franchise.