One day after the Brooklyn Nets failed to defeat the Chicago Bulls on their home court in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Bill King and company announced they would not retain interim head coach P. J. Carlesimo.
Carlesimo took over the reigns of the Nets in their opening season at the Barclays Center after the team fired Avery Johnson on December 28. Brooklyn went just 3-10 in the final month of 2012 under Johnson. After assisting Johnson, Carlesimo came into the head coaching role and let his players play freely and their natural games. Brooklyn responded and finished the rest of the season 35-19.
Brooklyn’s improvement under PJ wasn’t completely due to his stellar coaching. A significant portion of Brooklyn’s success over the last 54 games was because the Nets finally got healthy and Deron Williams suddenly played the final 50 games of the season like a franchise point guard.
Still, Carlesimo does deserve some of the credit for the Net’s turn around and with the 76ers currently in need of a turn-around of epic proportions, shouldn’t Josh Harris, Adam Aron and Tony DiLeo at least explore the option of bringing in Carlesimo to fill the head coaching vacancy?
I’m not saying that the 63-year-old is the man that can lead Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and whoever else is on the Sixers roster next season to contention in the Eastern Conference. But, if 2012-2013 proved anything about Carlesimo, it showed that the experienced head coach is more than capable at stopping a team from completely drowning. Doug Collins on the other hand, was unable save the Sixers in 2012-13.
The Sixers certainly have been struggling to stay afloat since Allen Iverson and Larry Brown were in Philadunkia together. Since 2003, the Sixers have never escaped the second round of the playoffs and have employed seven different men as the head coach of their franchise.
Critics will point out that D-Wil was largely responsible for the 180 the Nets did over their last 54 games. William’s true shooting percentage jumped 10 percent from January 1st to the end of the year when compared to his numbers in November/December. His Ast : TO ratio also improved by .20 and he actually started playing defense. Finally,, Williams was -3 per 100 possessions through December and was +4.7 from January on. The Sixers do not have a Deron Williams for PJ to lean on.
However, Carlesimo has proven to be a coach that demands respect from his players (At least ones not named Sprewell). That would be a complete turn around from the regime Doug Collins just ran last season. PJ isn’t going to come into Philly and dramatically turn around the franchise. But, he could be a great face and leader for the Sixers team as they try to rediscover their identity and forge forward with the few young pieces and assets that they currently have on the roster.
If Carlesimo was brought into the Wells Fargo Center, fans probably wouldn’t jump for joy and celebrate. But they would eventually witness a professional basketball team that actually plays an efficient offense while digging in defensively.
I am not is saying that PJ is the “best man” for the job, but Harris, Aron and DiLeo should at least give him some consideration because the “best man” for the job may not be willing to come to Philadelphia.
Let us know your thoughts…