Towards the end of last week, it was announced that the first two candidates for the head coaching vacancy for the Philadelphia 76ers have emerged and will be interviewed later this week. The two candidates are Mike Malone and Jeff Hornacek. Today, we are going to take a look at both and see if they would fit in Philadelphia.
Mike Malone has emerged as the early frontrunner for the job, although it is too early to really consider someone as a frontrunner. Malone is one of the top assistants in the NBA and has been so for the last decade. He started his career with the New York Knicks and later moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his five years as an assistant with the Cavs, they had the third best winning percentage in the NBA.
He then moved on to the New Orleans Hornets, where they were able to reach the playoffs with Malone as the lead assistant. According to his coaching profile, they were the most improved defense in the NBA during the 2010-11 season, going from 102.7 points allowed to 94 points allowed per game.
His most recent stop has been with the Golden State Warriors, where all he’s done has lead them to the playoffs and a first-round upset of the Denver Nuggets. Because he is so well respected amongst players and coaches and he is a defensive-minded coach, I see him as a potential fit in Philadelphia. He could bring some energy back into this young roster and get them to compete on the defensive end, which was their bread and butter during their most recent playoff run.
As for Hornacek, he is a little less experienced in the coaching ranks. He has been an assistant with the Utah Jazz the past couple of years. He was a great player during his career, averaging 14.5 points and 4.9 assists. He did play a season and a half with the 76ers and was a great shooter; something the Sixers seriously lacked this past season. He would provide this team with an offensive punch that they need, after ranking last in points per game as a team last year.
Either way you look at it, the Sixers can’t go wrong with either one of these guys as the next head coach. Personally, with the current roster that they have, I think it would be more beneficial to choose a defensive-minded coach like Malone. The best chance to be successful will be to get back to playing defense. An offensive mind like Hornacek would not be as beneficial because they don’t have enough shooters and scorers there. Malone is the early frontrunner, but this should be a long and thought out process and hopefully there are many more interviews before a decision is made.