Over the last week to ten days, 76ers General manager Ed Stefanski has interviewed a hoist of candidates for the Sixers vacant head coaching position: Eddie Jordan, Dwane Casey, Kurt Rambis, Tom Thibodeau, Chris Ford and Villanova coach Jay Wright have all discussed the opening with Stefanski. As we all know, Wright decided to stay at Nova and politely withdrew his name from consideration. That leaves Ed with a minimum of five candidates to choose from at this point. Now word on the street is that Stefanski will also meet with / interview a couple of former NBA head coaches such as Avery Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy and Doug Collins. That bumps Ed’s candidate list up to eight. So Ed has a heavy work load in front of him as he has lot of resumes to review, stats to compile and references to check. Which could explain the below statement we received from Stefanski and the Sixers over the holiday weekend.
“In the past week, I have completed interviews with six candidates, all of whom are exceptionally qualified, have an impressive knowledge of the game and are very well-respected within the basketball community. I truly appreciate that they took time out of their schedules to meet with me regarding this position. Along with my staff, we will continue our due diligence – including further interviews, extensive research and in-depth background checks – before a final selection is made. As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills, will stress the importance of accountability while also developing our players and will be a strong tactician. As such, due to the number of candidates still involved in the process, there is no timetable set for when this very important decision regarding the future direction of the franchise will be made.”
Now we are very much in favor of Stefanski leaving no stone unturned and we are happy that he is taking the time to study each candidate in depth in hopes of making the “right decision”. After all, this coaching selection could help make or break the franchise for the next several years. But we have to ask, “How much longer can this search drag on?”
Instead of getting closer to a decision, Stefanski appears to be treading water and making no progress at all. Some may contend that Stefanski by continuing to interview candidates is in fact getting farther from making a decision. More importantly, for us here at Philadunkia the lack of progress simply means that instead of concentrating on the NBA Draft, which outside of the Sacramento Kings all the other NBA teams are focused on right now, the Sixers are up to their necks in a search for their next head coach. We are exactly 30 days from the 2009 NBA Draft and the Sixers have no head coach, which means they also have not determined their “system” and thus their personnel needs for 2009-10. Those are some imposing distractions that could prevent Stefanski from making the “right decision” with the #17 pick in this year’s Draft.
So here’s a request from Philadunkia nation — please select a head coach already and let’s seriously start concentrating all of the Sixers front office energy on finding the next Danny Granger, Josh Smith, Aaron McKie, James Posey, David West, JR Smith, Jameer Nelson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jermaine O’Neal, Michael Finley, Nate Robinson, Sam Cassell, Delonte West, Derek Fisher, Gerald Wallace, Jason Maxiell, Tony Parker, Josh Howard or David Lee — all of whom were selected 17th or higher in their NBA Draft class. Star players / talent wins games in the NBA and right now, the Sixers do not have enough star players / talent to get past the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs even if Red Auerbach was our coach.
Thus let’s start focuisng on what’s really important, the Draft and improving the Sixers roster. Because if we drop the ball at #17, that 2009 Draft mistake will certainly be a more crushing blow to the progress of this franchise then choosing the wrong head coach.