The Philadelphia 76ers have made Mike D’Antoni the associate head coach on Brett Brown’s staff, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that the Sixers were in talks to bring D’Antoni on board.
Colangelo and D’Antoni have an established relationship thanks to their time together with the Phoenix Suns and USA Basketball. D’Antoni hasn’t been coaching since the Los Angeles Lakers fired him after the 2013-14 season.
This comes on the heels of Brown signing a two-year contract extension through 2018-19, so this doesn’t appear to be a move made with the thinking that D’Antoni will soon take over as head coach. The Sixers want more experience on Brown’s staff, and D’Antoni could potentially use this job as a springboard to another head coaching gig somewhere else.
D’Antoni is known for his uptempo offense that’s all the rage in the modern NBA, and he also coached point guard Kendall Marshall, who just returned from an ACL injury, with the Lakers. Marshall was effective under D’Antoni, so the hope is they can replicate that kind of success.
As recently noted by Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers, this move will be an interesting development for rookie big man Jahlil Okafor. The youngster isn’t the ideal fit for D’Antoni’s fast-paced system, so it’ll be interesting to see how Brown and D’Antoni utilize him moving forward.
This hire is a bold one for a Sixers franchise looking to regain credibility as they attempt to speed up their rebuild. D’Antoni brings plenty of experience to the table, and this should be a solid move assuming he builds a good working relationship with Brown.