5. Mike D’Antoni
The D’Antoni rumors are back. The legendary coach worked with James Harden and Daryl Morey for four years in Houston, including helping the Rockets reach the conference finals in 2018 where they nearly knocked out the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. Could the Houston reunion continue in Philly with D’Antoni taking over as head coach?
A championship is the one thing missing from Mike D’Antoni’s Hall of Fame resume. He was the architect of the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns that made Steve Nash NBA MVP and had Phoenix in the conference finals twice. He helped the Knicks and Lakers reach the playoffs during his stints as their head coach before getting the Rockets to the second round of further in four straight years from 2017 to 2020.
D’Antoni is one of the best offensive minds in the NBA, but his teams are never known for their defense. The Sixers were third in offensive rating this season and helped Joel Embiid win MVP. How much better can their offense get? D’Antoni could get Embiid more easy buckets, but at what price? They finished eighth in defensive rating, which would likely slip under the 72-year-old.
If hiring Mike D’Antoni as head coach is the only thing that will keep James Harden in Philadelphia, it might be worth it, but the legend does not feel like a fantastic fit here. Yes, he has previous relationships with the key members, but the Sixers need someone with a better defensive track record.