On Friday, my colleague Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer Tweeted that Brett Brown is the team’s preferred candidate for the 76ers’ head coaching job per a League source. This is simply the latest report in the4-month ongoing story line about the Sixers’ off-season. Who will be the 7-6’s next head coach and when that announcement will actually come is anybody’s guess.
But officially selecting a head coach is not the only item GM Sam Hinkie and company still need to cross off their off-season to-do list. There’s a lot of work left to do in order to prepare this team for the 2013-14 season even if the plan is to tank, hard.
After the jump, I’ll review the Top 6 things the Hinkie needs to accomplish before opening night of the 2013-2014 season, outside of filling their head coaching vacancy.
1.) Hire an Assistant GM/Complete Front Office
Arguably the most important vacant position in the Sixers organization is not the head coach but the Hinkie’s assistant general manager. Essentially, Sam’s Hinkie to his Daryl Morey. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, everybody in what could be considered Sixers media hasn’t really given the position much attention. Hinkie will also have the opportunity to wipe the majority of the front office clean and bring in scouts that he’s familiar will, too. We will have to wait and see.
2.) Coaching Staff
After the team hires a head man, it will be interesting to see who will round out his coaching staff and who will be making that personnel decision. If Michael Curry is not promoted to head coach, he could remain on board as an assistant, but as he said in Orlando, “I haven’t thought that far ahead,” and it was expressed with a negative connotation. Additionally will Aaron McKie be back? What about Jeff Capel? Or does Hinkie complete the demolition of this franchise and wipe the entire bench clean and start from scratch?
3.) Sign Draft Picks
It’s pretty much a given that Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams will be signed for 120% of their rookie scale, per the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement. The two lottery picks will likely earn about $4 million combined this season, per ShamSports. However, there is also reportedly a possibility that second round pick Araslan Kazemi could play a year overseas before joining the Sixers. While this would save the team money, they’re in no position to be nickel and diming with a payroll slightly over $40 million post Noel and MCW contracts. This is why the team purchased a D-League team. This is also a team that will likely have the worst record in the entire league. Playing Kazemi against the world’s best talent won’t make them any worse. Keep him stateside.
4.) Guarantee 12 Players’ Salaries/Have a Competitive Training Camp
Under league rules, NBA teams must have a minimum of 12 active players and a minimum of 8 dressed players per game. Will they guarantee James Anderson, Justin Holiday and Tim Ohlbrecht? What will they do with Royce White? Who will they extend training camp invites to? One thing is for certain, the new Sixers coaching staff must create a very competitive atmosphere during training camp. This team needs to forge a hard-working attitude and culture as soon as possible.
5.) Bring in a Veteran Point Guard
One of the players that can help create a certain winning and blue-collar culture is a crafty and solid veteran point guard to either start over or backup Michael Carter-Williams. Basically, play the role that Chauncy Billups will to Brandon Jennings and what Jarrett Jack will do for Kyrie Irving when Jack’s not asked to score. Honestly, if I could pick any active player to fill this role, I’d select Andre “The Professor” Miller in a heartbeat. But he’s under contract in Denver for this season. Some guys who are still available that wouldn’t be terrible veteran presences in a young locker room: Beno Udrih, AJ Price, Mike James, Keyon Dooling and Jamaal Tinsley. Quincy Douby has also been rumored to have caught Hinkie’s eye.
6.) Add a Mascot
It’s been almost two years since this Sixers ownership unveiled their bizarrely absurd Mascot popular vote after letting go of beloved Hip-Hop. Honestly, having a mascot is nothing close to essential for an NBA franchise. But in this upcoming season it might be necessary considering how terrible the basketball product at the Wells Fargo Center is going to be. Maybe Philadelphians would come out to a dunk and gymnastics show with a basketball game during timeouts for $25 in the winter if they have a fluffy animal in a Sixers uni leading the charge.