Let’s look at some of the potential head coach candidates for the Philadelphia 76ers by breaking down the options into tiers.

Too Perfect to Happen

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Jay Wright

If you asked around the Sixers fanbase what they’d give up to have Jay Wright be the next Sixers coach, you’d probably get a disturbingly large amount of answers including the loss of limbs.

The Villanova Head Coach has already cemented his spot among Philadelphia Basketball legends, however, this may be the very reason Wright would be unwilling to take the step up to the NBA and risk his reputation.

Mike D’Antoni

D’antoni is one of the bigger names who have come up as potential coaching candidates, he has been influential in the emergence of star James Harden and making the Rockets one of the better teams in the league over the past few seasons. D’antoni is in the last year of his contract and the Rockets may be reluctant to re-sign him due to his inability to get them past mere playoff participants and into true title contenders.

If the Rockets were to let him hit the market, the Sixers should go after their former associate Head Coach, whose aggressive style with James Harden could come in handy in the development of Joel Embiid.

The Van Gundy Bros

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Stan and Jeff

The Van Gundy Brothers are well known and well experienced, each with at least one NBA Finals appearance on their resume. Also, each of their Finals appearances included a superstar who led their teams, with Jeff Van Gundy coaching the Patrick Ewing led Knicks to the 1994 Finals and Stan Van Gundy coaching the Dwight Howard-led Magic to the 2009 Finals.

With the Sixers talent being found in the frontcourt thanks to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, bringing in a coach with some experience in successfully coaching Big Man led teams may be the secret to getting the Sixers over the top.

Maybe Take a Chance on Em

Photo: AP Photo/Mark J. Rebilas

Ime Udoka

Udoka was part of the Spurs coaching dream team working under Gregg Popovich and had risen to one of his top assistants before the Sixers hired him before the 2019-20 season to be their assistant coach.

If Elton Brand wants to stick with an in-house coaching candidate (A mentality that I do not agree with) then Udoka is their best option. Though he has no head coaching experience, his experience playing both in the NBA and overseas along with coaching under the Legendary Gregg Popovich should set him up for success.

Nate McMillan

McMillan was just recently relieved of his duties as the Head Coach of the Indiana Pacers after getting swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2020 playoffs failing to get past the first round for the fourth straight season (Being swept in three of the four). The inability to get over this hump left the team desperate for some changes, and though they had just extended his contract, its apparent the Pacers felt a new coach was a step in the right direction.

He’s experienced some playoff failures, but McMillan is a talented coach as he’s made the playoffs each of the four past seasons, and his experience may draw some interest from the Sixers.

Players Play, not Coach

Photo: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Jason Kidd

Though not the first former players on this list, Kidd and the next coach were much more popular players than the previously mentioned coaches, and their shift from player to coach was observed by a large portion of the current NBA fan base.

Though Kidd gained popularity as the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks due to the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, he was fired during the 2018 season and never succeeded in getting the Giannis-led Bucks to reach the Conference Finals. If Kidd couldn’t succeed with Antetokounmpo, one of the most talented and dominant players in the league, then the Sixers should steer away from him as an option to succeed with Embiid and Simmons.

Tyronn Lue

Unlike Kidd, Tyronn Lue has a very impressive resume with achievements such as coaching the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers to the first NBA Championship in franchise history and followed it up with being named the Best Coach/Manager at the 2016 ESPYs. However, the success he endured in Cleveland is mainly due to the unforgettable performance by Lebron James during that time span in which he cemented his spot as one of the best players in the history of the NBA. Once Lebron left Cleveland to join the Lakers, Lue was fired after just the sixth game of the following season, or more importantly the sixth loss of an 0-6 start. Lue joined the Los Angeles Clippers coaching team under Doc Rivers and has not had a head coaching job since.

While many are quick to connect Tyronn Lue to the Sixers head coaching vacancy, the Sixers, unfortunately, do not have the best player on the planet in Lebron James and Lue has not proved he can be successful without him.

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