The Philadelphia 76ers are looking for a new head coach after moving from Doc Rivers after three seasons. The Sixers won a bunch games for Rivers, but they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals three seasons in a row.
The new coach is going to have to move the Sixers closer to their goals on their title quest. Philadelphia possesses substantial talent, but it hasn’t been able to get over the hump that is the second round.
Familiarity with the Sixers stars
D’Antoni has obvious familiarity with James Harden from their days with the Rockets, but D’Antoni was an assistant with the Sixers in the 2015-16 season. Joel Embiid was out with foot injuries that season, but the two of them were able to at least see each other and build some type of relationship.
Would a possible D’Antoni hire influence Harden’s decision and have him return to Philadelphia? Probably not. The Sixers will also play the Harden situation smart as they will think about years and money and everything else in between. However, D’Antoni obviously had a very positive influence on Harden’s career while in Houston.
D’Antoni’s Rockets teams were either first or second in the league in offensive rating in his first three seasons at the helm. In the 2019-20 season, with Harden and Russell Westbrook on the floor, they were sixth in offensive rating. He would bring that offensive creativity to Philadelphia, and help Harden, Embiid and the shooters around them flourish.
When considering what Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza and others were able to do around Harden in Houston, one has to believe D’Antoni could help Philadelphia’s role players take another leap.
Ability to help Tyrese Maxey flourish
Maxey had taken steps forward in all three seasons under Rivers, but playing for somebody like D’Antoni could help him flourish. Maxey averaged 20.3 points and shot 43.4% from deep during the season, and D’Antoni’s offensive style could push him into legitimate All-Star conversations in the Eastern Conference. The young guard out of Kentucky has to take that next step forward and D’Antoni could help him do so.