The Philadelphia 76ers are still on the lookout for a new leading man after firing Doc Rivers after another early postseason exit. Rivers held the job for three seasons and led the Sixers to a great deal of success, but three consecutive eliminations in the conference semifinals did him in.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, quite a few candidates will be considered for the position. However, in the roughly two weeks now since Rivers has been let go, there have been plenty of intel and reports about the Sixers’ search.
Here is a new ranking of the coaching candidates based on what is known now such as interviews, coaching credentials, and what the team needs:
6. Sam Cassell (previous ranking: 4)
This isn’t a knock on Cassell’s coaching credentials, but based on what is known now and who the Sixers have interviewed, it seems as though Daryl Morey and co. want an experienced coach with a title on his resume. A majority of the fan base in Philadelphia would love to see Cassell hired. He has done wonders for Tyrese Maxey and Harden, and he has a great relationship with both. There is no doubt he is ready to become a head coach in this league, but it appears that the Sixers don’t want a rookie head coach at the moment.
5. Mike Budenholzer (previous ranking: 5)
Budenholzer fits what the Sixers are looking for. He is a championship coach, he’s won a ton of games, and he’s established. However, he has yet to be interviewed for the position and one could assume that he maybe wants to take a year off from coaching.
After leading the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the East, they were bounced by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat. They blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter in both Games 4 and 5 so that is tough to go through. Combine that with the tragic loss of his brother and it is understandable why he’d maybe want some time off.
4. Mike D’Antoni (previous ranking: 3)
One can hear the collective groans from everybody reading this, but D’Antoni makes a lot of sense as long as Harden is on the roster. The two already have a great relationship. D’Antoni runs an up-tempo offensive style suited to Harden, and the familiarity will help Philadelphia’s bid to keep The Beard in tow. If they hire D’Antoni, it will be interesting to see how Embiid fits into the style, but D’Antoni also coached Shaquille O’Neal while with the Phoenix Suns.
3. Monty Williams (previous ranking 2)
Williams has a great offensive mind, and he helped turn the Suns into a contender starting in the 2019-20 season and the run in the bubble. He ended up falling short in the 2021 finals, but if Williams were to be hired, he bring a no-nonsense style to Philadelphia and a terrific offensive scheme that should fit Embiid and Harden. He has dropped in the rankings when considering he has not had an interview yet.
2. Frank Vogel (previous ranking: 6)
Vogel, a Wildwood, New Jersey, native, also has a championship on his resume from 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has done many good things during his coaching career with the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and Lakers. He was able to make things work with two megastars such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis and that experience should help him with Embiid and possibly Harden. He has already interviewed with the team for the position.
1. Nick Nurse (previous ranking 1)
Nurse is a brilliant tactician who gets the most out of his rosters. The schemes he comes up with are innovative and his work while with the Toronto Raptors was impressive. Most will turn to Kawhi Leonard for the title run in 2019, but the job he did the following season in the bubble has gone unnoticed as well as his work the previous two seasons. He has ties to Daryl Morey from their time together with the Houston Rockets. When considering all the factors and his interview with the team, he has to be at the top of the candidate list.
Source: Yahoo Sports