With one game remaining in the Doug Collins’ era and the news breaking that Collins and ownership had struck a deal that would make him a special consultant to the franchise, it’s that time we begin speculating who the Sixers will bring in as their next head coach.
If the franchise decides to stay within the organization, Michael Curry and Aaron McKie are the most likely candidates.
Curry would likely be the recommendation from Collins after completing his third season as his Associate Head Coach. Most known for developing the concepts that the Sixers have used in their much improved defense in his three years with the team, Curry is well respected by the league and by his players. In 2008-2009, he coached the Detroit Pistons to the playoffs in his one and only head coaching gig.
As for McKie, he is the ultimate Philadelphian. After playing his high school ball in Philly, he attended Temple University. His best years as a player in the NBA came with the Sixers, once winning Sixth Man of the Year in 2000 in route to an NBA Finals appearance. McKie is in his sixth season as an assistant with the team, and is known for having outstanding relationships with the young roster, particularly Jrue Holiday. This could be significant, as Collins was highly criticized for his lack of developing young players or establishing any sort of positive relationship with his roster.
While those two are most likely to land the job if ownership decides to stay within the organization, two sources have said the team is looking elsewhere for their next head coach according to Philly.com’s John Mitchell.
If this is the case, expect names such as Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy, and Brian Shaw to pop up frequently. McMillan and Van Gundy have head coaching experience in the NBA and have had success, but Shaw is one of the top assistants in the league and is mentioned in head coaching jobs practically every year.
Once believed to take over the Los Angeles Lakers after Phil Jackson retired, Shaw was looked over as the team hired Mike Brown instead. Shaw joined the Indiana Pacers‘ staff this season, but with the emergence of Frank Vogel as one of the bright, young head coaches in the NBA, the likeliness of him staying there for an extended period of time is unlikely. Likely to come at a cheaper price than McMillan or Van Gundy, Shaw could definitely be on a shortlist of possible candidates for the Sixers.
Nate McMillan has 12 years experience as a head coach, and has compiled a 427-417 record with the Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trailblazers. Stan Van Gundy took the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals not too long ago and has experience dealing with superstar egos after his time with Dwight Howard.
While it may be a stretch, Larry Brown could be in the mix for the Sixers’ head coaching vacancy. Don’t count out the former coach of the franchise. His experience and knowledge of the way the league works may be something that this new ownership group, led by Joshua Harris, needs desperately.