Word spread earlier today that Sam Mitchell would be next on the Sixers interview list. After the jump a few thoughts and a quick poll to get your weekend started.
Mitchell was interviewed by Dei Lynam earlier in the week and he came off as the anti-Avery Johnson. While Johnson said head-scratching things last season (like, Willie Green is a point guard, and Andre Iguodala should play the four), Mitchell seemed to understand how to deal with Sam Dalembert:
"Just give Sam his defined role," he explained. "Play him 35-38 minutes a night. Tell him to go get every rebound and block shot out there and if he fouls out in the process so be it. Just show him love,"He also had some ideas about Andre Iguodala's shot selection:
"If I saw Iguodala attempt more then two threes in a game, I would cry," he said. He went on to add that Iguodala should be attempting double figure free-throw attempts as opposed to long jumpers.
Mitchell passes the smell test for me. Common sense shouldn't be a rarity among coaches, but I'm taking nothing for granted after the Eddie Jordan debacle. He was named the NBA coach of the year while in Toronto, and when you look back over the teams he coached up there, I think he probably did a pretty good job. Toronto never ranked in the top ten defensively under him, but with the roster he was given it's a miracle they finished 12th and 13th during his two .500+ seasons.
The problem with a guy who sort of up-coached a flawed roster into a decent defensive team is that the ability to do so doesn't really prove that he'd be able to turn a team with a solid defensive core into an elite defensive team. There's a difference between using a system to hide weaknesses and getting average results and really using a defense as a weapon. That's really my main concern with Mitchell at this point. His pedigree doesn't scream, "This guy can coach defense," to me, and that's kind of what I'm looking for in a known quantity.
Vote in the poll, thoughts in the comments.