Saturday, December 13, 2008

So Long, Mo. Thanks for the memories.

Guess I missed the news. I'm sitting here watching the Sixers-Wizards game (I live in D.C. right now, so the game is on TV. Glad that I'm finally getting to watch a game.), and about half-way through the second quarter I hear the announcers mentioning the Sixers new interim head coach. Somehow I hadn't seen the news before now (I know the change was only made earlier today, but still...).

I know the generic reasons given for firing Mo Cheeks-- need to shake up the team, underperforming, etc.-- but I can't say I'm a big fan of the move. And that's coming from someone who's never thought Cheeks was anything more than an average coach. As my last post talked about, Cheeks was basically playing everyone the minutes that was expected. If the problem is that Andre Igoudala, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembert are playing worse than expected, then I don't see how getting rid of Cheeks helps anything. I especially don't see how it helps in the case of Igoudala and Dalembert-- after all, he was also the coach when they played really well last year.

So what do I expect? I expect the Sixers to start playing better and finish the season with somewhere between 40 and 50 wins. They have a few easy games over the next week that they should win (including tonight's game and next Friday's game against the Wizards that I'm going to!), so I expect the "improved" play to start right away. Of course, that's what I was expecting before the firing. Stefanski will get credit for shaking things up, and really it'll just be the players returning to their normal performance level.

As long as the Sixers start playing better I guess I won't be too bothered by the coaching change. After all, I don't follow the Sixers to watch the coach!

Update: I meant to post these two links from ESPN on the firing (by John Hollinger and Marc Stein) for a more detailed take on the firing. Take a look!


kmudrick said...

To get to 50 they have to go 41 and 18 the rest of the way - no way.

To get to 45, they have to go 36 and 24 the rest of the way. Doubtful.

The players are just not a good mix. While that is certainly not Cheeks' fault, I don't think he did anything that warranted keeping his job. I was at the Cavs game Wednesday and their play coming out of timeouts with the ball was atrocious. Their halfcourt game is terrible. It is one thing to excel in the transition like last year, but it is completely inexcusable for 4 guys to essentially stand around with poor ball movement.

Sam Cohen said...

I agree-- 50 games is highly, highly unlikely. So somewhere between 40-45 wins seems like a realistic "best case" scenario.

I also agree that Cheeks didn't do anything to warrant keeping his job. But I also think he didn't do anything so terrible to deserve losing his job so early in the season.

I'm also not entirely sold on the idea that the players are not a good mix. Sure, it'd be nice if we had better outside shooters, but I don't see any reason that the Sixers couldn't have continued playing last year's style with Brand. I don't view him as some big, slow lug...but maybe I'm wrong.

kmudrick said...

Well, we signed Rush and Marshall as outside shooters, and neither see the light of day. What was the point of signing them? Its not like they need major minutes each night, but for them to constantly be DNP is kind of odd.

Maybe it was the injury, but Brand really looked slow running up the court recently. Noticeably slow. Not webber'esque, but still. I'd be happy if they moved Dalembert and tried Brand at the 5. I never liked Dalembert's game, he makes too many stupid mistakes and the blocks he gets too often comes from risky decisions.

Louis said...

I like Mo as a former Philly area hero who had on-the court experience he could use to get the players to buy into what he said. It's a shame that he just wasn't able to get them to perform put to their abilities. In the end, it's usually the coach who gets canned when the players don't measure up to expectations.

I thought just getting the team to the playoffs last year was an accomplishment that would buy him at least one more full season. Maybe the team should consider whether changing coaches every 2 years is a good strategy for building a championship-caliber team.

Louis said...

The 76ers plight hit the NY Times( ). Brand compared the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers, and the time it took them to jell, to the 76ers current situation. If only that were a fair comparison. If only.

Louis said...


I figure most of the people reading this blog are Philly fans in general and so won't mind the slightly off topic shout-out.