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Reports: Mike D’Antoni and Billy Donovan To Be Interviewed For Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Vacancy

Reports: Mike D’Antoni and Billy Donovan To Be Interviewed For Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Vacancy

Last month, the Philadelphia 76ers parted ways with former head coach Brett Brown after seven unsuccessful seasons. He inherited a rebuilding team, but this rebuilding process never stopped. Despite having six lottery picks, including two #1 picks and two #3 picks, the 76ers could never go beyond the second round of the Playoffs.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown reacts after receiving a technical foul against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game four of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So, putting an end to this failed run, the 76ers are now looking for a change. According to Jason Dumas from KRON4 News, the top two candidates are Mike D’Antoni & Billy Donovan. Both are scheduled for an interview this week and will be in Philly soon.

D’Antoni’s contract with the Rockets was about to expire this offseason. Donovan also had his contract expire after spending five seasons with the Thunder. Like D’Antoni, he had no real success in the Playoffs, and is looking for a fresh start.

Is D’Antoni the answer to the Philadelphia 76ers problems?

At the Rockets, D’Antoni had the shortest lineup in the league as they experimented with small-ball lineups. His five-out strategy to “live by the three and die by the three” failed and only took the Rockets to a Conference Final. So if he is hired by the 76ers, it will be interesting.

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni with Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and guard David Nwaba (0) look on during the first half of game two of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 76ers had the tallest lineup in the league this season. And outside shooting is their kryptonite, with the 76ers ranking 18th in three-point attempts for the 2019-20 season. Their star point guard Ben Simmons doesn’t have a three-pointer in his arsenal and has taken 24 threes in three seasons.

D’Antoni would have to revolutionize his tactics if he wants to take over. That transition would be tough, and the 76ers may not be the most apt team for him to take over.

Can Donovan finally find playoff success with the 76ers?

On the other hand, Donovan is an exciting candidate. Despite his playoff failures, his ability to use his players well is noteworthy. After losing both his stars this season, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, they were slated to be a lottery team. But they defied expectations to finish as the fourth seed.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan
Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan looks on during the first half against the Houston Rockets in game one of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The way Donovan used three guards in his lineup, got the best out of undrafted Luguentz Dort, and showed Nerlens Noel still has a something to offer in the NBA was impressive. This was reflected in the voting for the Coach of the Year when the National Basketball Coaches Association voted him first along with Mike Budenholzer.

Donovan’s versatility gives him an edge over D’Antoni. We’ll find out in a few weeks if he makes the cut or new candidates join the conversation.

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