SportsProf

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Friday, June 28, 2013

The 76ers Have Had 18 Head Coaches in the Past 40 Years, 19 if You Count Whoever the New Guy Is

You can check it out here.

That's about one coach every sixth months.  Now, sure, some stayed for longer (Billy Cunningham, Larry Brown), but others did not (Kevin Loughery, Tony DiLeo).  Still, each has had the title "head coach."

Which gets me to thinking that the most recent trade of Jrue Holiday and a #2 for Nerlens Noel and a protected #1 is a bit wishful thinking.  Yes, some have labeled new GM Sam Hinkie bold, daring and smart, while others wonder if he just steered the good ship off the cliff and will have fans desperately wondering whether they'll clinch the best chance for the first pick in next year's draft by Christmas.  They'll also be offering pagan rituals for Thaddeus Young, who deserves a better fate than to play with the team sponsored by the Last Chance Hotel. 

Optimism for the 76ers results from the triumph of hope over experience.  Sure, they had great teams in the mid-to-late 70's to early 80's and got to the finals in 2000, but otherwise they've been an abysmal team at worst (see 1972-1973 and a fair-to-middlin'-to-above average team at best.  This trade suggests that they want to build around Noel, Young, first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams, the enigmatic Evan Turner and perhaps the kid from Kansas who many think is the "next LeBron" (cautionary tale:  Google "Lenny Cooke" and show some measure of concern when you heap all that praise on someone; also Google "Harold Miner," who was touted as "Baby Jordan").  But live in the present we must, and Noel is out until December.  So, you have a lineup consistent of Carter-Williams, Turner, Young, Spencer Hawes and either a two or three to be named later depending on where you put Turner (probably at the 3).  And the bench?  Who will be there? 

This is a recipe for an 18 and 64 team. 

This is a recipe for many empty seats.

This is a recipe for further condescension from the Knicks and Nets fans, and even the rebuilding Celtics could be better.  But if they want to vie for the Wiggins sweepstakes, given NBA history, they'll beat out the 76ers.  Yes, rock beats scissors, and I'll bet on the Grousbeck father and son combination and the Boston karma over Josh Harris and his buyout fund billion. 

The jokes are going around that the 76ers will sign Greg Oden to be a matched pair with Noel, and that they'll hire bad-legged historic big men Bill Walton and Sam Bowie to help coach our bigs.  Of course, they could re-sign Andrew Bynum, too, and have Noel and his limited offensive game play alongside Bynum, whose offense is good.  The possibilities are endless.

But, remember, this is a big bet.  And, with how frequently the head coaching position has turned over, it seems that it will be difficult for the team to gain traction quickly enough to build upon another new, exciting nucleus and go further than the first round of the playoffs.  History dictates that this won't happen, that Harris will get bored, sell the team to a local gazillionaire and buy an NFL team. 

Where hope will triumph over experience once again.  But at least "parity" makes it easier to rebuild an NFL team.

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