Sixers coach Brett Brown is excited about the team’s addition of Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach, saying of D’Antoni, “He’s a hell of a resource and a hell of a coach. I think we’re all going to benefit,” Ian Begley of ESPN.com relays. Brown noted that he had wanted to add an experienced coach to his staff for some time, and the suggestion about hiring D’Antoni came from newly hired team executive Jerry Colangelo, Begley writes. “We started sharing names, and he mentioned the name Mike D’Antoni. I said, ‘Do you think he would do it? That’s a hell of a name,‘” Brown said. “Less than 24 hours later, he came and said, ‘Mike is yours.’ And so the speed of it caught me way off guard.”
Brown also mentioned that the team spent several days recruiting D’Antoni, and the former head coach was asked why he would want to join a rebuilding team like Philadelphia, to which D’Antoni responded, “I’m bored, I miss the game,” Begley adds.
Here’s more from Philly:
- Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis has observed the early season difficulties Sixers center Jahlil Okafor has endured and feels fortunate that Philadelphia chose the Duke big man, allowing New York to swoop in and select him at No. 4 overall, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “That would be tough,’’ Porzingis said of playing for a losing squad like the Sixers. “That’s basketball sometimes. Losing like that is very tough. I’ve been on a losing team last season, the first part of the season. It’s really tough. The negativity is always there. It’s not a good feeling. You mentally grow as you go through those tough times.’’
- Porzingis appreciates the fact that the Knicks surrounded him with veteran leaders, a perk that Okafor doesn’t currently possess in Philadelphia, Berman adds. “I’m in a really good situation,’’ Porzingis said. “Having veterans around me to help me out on and off the court. He’s in a tough situation. I’m sure he’ll find a way to make his team win and get better as a player and how to be smarter off the court.’’ The Sixers are working toward correcting this deficiency, and are reportedly considering signing Elton Brand or Shane Battier.
- Draft-and-stash prospect Dario Saric, in an interview with SlamNRoll.com, re-iterated his intention to join the Sixers next season. “I’m always in touch with the people of Philadelphia, I always talk with GM Sam Hinkie and coach Brett Brown,” Saric said. “We talk about a lot of things that have to do with me and the 76ers. Before I was drafted, I promised to Efes that I will come here for two years and of course I promised to Philadelphia that after [this] period of time, I will go to them. It is a certain procedure that I feel I have to pass through.“