If your head is spinning from all the names and rumors being tossed around about who the Sixers' next coach might be, I don't blame you. It seems like every day there is a new candidate for the job and, in this new age of media, it is hard to determine if the "information" you see is true or false. No worries, Sixerdelphia is here to do the hard work for you! Here is a summary of each candidate that the Sixers are known to have legitimate interest in.
Jay Larranaga– Larranaga just finished his first season as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, but he also has some experience as a head coach. Before this season, Larranaga was the head coach for the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League for two seasons. During his stint with the BayHawks, he coached the team to consecutive playoff appearances, while seeing many of his players get called up to the Association. Larranaga is also the current head coach of the Irish National Team. Basketball is in Larranaga's blood, as he has surely learned a thing or two from his old man, Jim Larranaga, who is currently the head coach for the University of Miami's men's basketball team.
David Fizdale– A while back I wrote about the possibility of Fizdale and Denver assistant, Melvin Hunt, as possible coaching candidates. You can reach that article here. Since then, the Sixers have officially received permission to interview Fizdale, who has spent the past five seasons with the Miami Heat. Fizdale has experience in player development, scouting, and preparing players for games. Each of these abilities is something that Sam Hinkie will be looking for in his next head coach. Fizdale is currently with the Heat in Las Vegas for their Summer League, but more information about his interview with the Sixers should come out shortly.
Ed Pinckney-The Sixers have received permission to interview Chicago Bulls' assistant coach, Ed Pinckney. Many Philadelphians will remember Easy Ed from when he led the Villanova Wildcats to an upset victory over Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in the 1985 National Championship game. Pinckney has spent the past 3 season with the Bulls, and before that he was with the Timberwolves as an assistant coach for 2 years. He also spent time as an assistant coach for his alma mater for 4 years. Pinckney has experienced basketball from both on the court and on the side line so, if his interview goes well, he could catapult into a frontrunner for the Sixers' head coaching job. But for right now, I do not see Pinckney as a favorite for the job whatsoever.
Adrian Griffin – Along with Pinckney, the Sixers also received permission to interview Bulls' assistant coach Adrian Griffin. Griffin has limited coaching experience in the NBA, so I doubt the Sixers' interest in him is strong. I think they just want to make sure they interview all the candidates that could potentially fit their desired mold- a young, ambitious coach who will be able to keep his head up through what will surely be a tough 2013-14 campaign. Griffin has spent 2 seasons with the Bulls, and before that he spent 2 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. That is the extent of his coaching experience. Like Pinckney, unless he blows Sam Hinkie away in his interview, I doubt that Griffin will remain a serious candidate.
Kenny Atkinson-The Sixers have received permission to interview Atkinson who spent last season as an assistant coach/ player development director for the Atlanta Hawks. Atkinson intrigues me as a candidate. The Sixers are looking for an expert in player development, and Atkinson has been asked to do this at every stage of his coaching career. Whether in Atlanta, or with the Knicks or Rockets, or even overseas in France, the Republic of Georgia, and Italy, Atkinson has been in charge of player development everywhere he goes. He has also spent time as an assistant coach for the Ukrainian National Team. Atkinson's experience developing players as well as his youth may make him a sneaky candidate for the Sixers' head coaching job.
Quin Snyder– Snyder is another Atlanta Hawks assistant that the Sixers' have gained permission to interview. He has been coaching for over 20 years, so his experience is valuable. He even had a short stint with the Sixers back in the 2010-11 season when he was the Director of Player Development for the team. Besides the Sixers and Hawks, Snyder has also been an assistant coach for the Lakers and Clippers. He was the University of Missouri's head coach for 7 years before taking the head coaching job for the NBA D-League's Austin Toros. He won the D-League's Coach of the Year Award in 2010. Snyder appears to be a sexy candidate for the job as he has the experience that the Sixers are looking for.
Lloyd Pierce– Pierce is easily the least known-about candidate on this list. He is currently the Director of Player Development for the Memphis Grizzlies, and has also spent time doing that same job for the Warriors and Cavaliers. Once again you can make a connection between this candidate's experience with player development and Sam Hinkie's desire for a coach who has experience in that field, so I won't elaborate further on that point. But Pierce is young and ambitious, and he may be a dark horse candidate for the Sixers' coaching job.
Michael Curry– Curry is the only candidate who is currently employed by the team. He has spent the past 3 seasons as associate head coach for the Sixers, and before that he was the head coach of the Detroit Pistons for one season. Curry also spent time as an assistant coach for Detroit, as well as spending one season as the NBA's Director of Player Development. Sixers fans know that Curry has been the "defensive coordinator" (if you will) for the team throughout his time here, and he has worked wonders. In each of his seasons with the Sixers, he has led the team to producing elite numbers in each defensive category. You can see him during every game barking at the players to tighten up their defense, teaching them the proper technique. I am a big fan of Michael Curry, and I feel that he deserves another shot at being a head coach in this league. Does Sam Hinkie feel the same way? We'll find out soon enough.
Brett Brown– I wrote about the Sixers' interest in Brown last month, and you can view my profile on him here. Since then, Brown is still an assistant for the Spurs (despite a Draft night report that the Sixers had hired him), and little movement has been made. I still view Brown as a promising candidate, but the only knock against him would be his age.
Hopefully you have a better grip on who the Sixers' are seriously considering for their head coaching vacancy, and we should hear more on their decision making process within the coming weeks.
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