The Philadelphia 76ers' search for a new head coach is off to a relatively quiet start. And get used to it, because Sixers General Manager Elton Brand isn't in any rush to find Brett Brown's replacement. First, the Sixers have to re-evaluate their entire front office. Then, Brand and company can begin searching for the next coach.
So far, a few candidates have been rumored to be on the Sixers radar, including Mike Brown, Jay Wright, Dave Joerger, Ime Udoka, and the assumed favorite, Tyronn Lue. Should the 76ers add former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson to the list? Bleacher Report's Dan Favale recently made a case for why Atkinson would be a good fit for Philly.
The Case for Kenny
"The Philadelphia 76ers are caught somewhere between a project and a contender. They fancy themselves the latter, but the roster they've assembled around their two stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, doesn't reflect as much."
"Atkinson isn't a cure-all for what ails them; too much of that is personnel driven. Yet his teams, built with far less talent, have usually overachieved on defense. And if there's someone who can coax three-point volume out of Simmons—and the Sixers in general—it's him."
"If nothing else, Philly seems like it could use the play-hard culture of accountability he laid in Brooklyn, even though it never got the chance to translate to a roster with bigger names."
When the Nets moved on from Atkinson, it was kind of a shocker. Despite missing the 2017 and 2018 NBA Playoffs, Atkinson helped Brooklyn clinch the sixth seed during the 2019 NBA Playoffs with a team that wasn't expected to do much. Although the Nets lost 4-1 to the Sixers in the first round of the 19' Playoffs, the future looked bright for Brooklyn at that point.
But what many didn't know was that Atkinson would soon no longer be in the Nets' future plans. After acquiring multiple superstars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving through free agency, it was becoming clear that Brooklyn is going to be serious contenders in future seasons.
Unfortunately for Atkinson, the Nets' organization didn't see him as the guy that was going to steer the ship. So when March rolled around, the 28-34 Nets canned Atkinson -- and now he's in search of a new job.
As the Sixers need somebody who isn't afraid to come in and hold guys accountable -- Atkinson is a solid fit for what Philly needs. However, his lack of playoff and even championship experience likely makes him a hard sell to the Sixers' organization.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_