The Philadelphia 76ers are still searching for a new General Manager. Despite Brett Brown doing a graceful job of maneuvering through the offseason, he has made it known that he has no intentions of keeping the title long term.
The Sixers have reportedly been aggressive in searching for a new GM. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Sixers were “rebuffed in their attempt to hire away Houston’s Daryl Morey to take over as their new general manager.”
The team has also been linked to current Spurs General Manager, R.C. Burford, as well as former Cavaliers GM, David Griffin. The Sixers are clearly targeting executives that have a strong résumé and past experience as GMs. One under the radar candidate that could fit the bill is Celtics Assistant General Manager, Mike Zarren.
As well as being Assistant GM and Team Counsel for the Celtics, Zarren is responsible for developing the team’s best-in-class statistical database and video archive/delivery system. He’s a leader in the field of advanced analytics and is highly regarded around the league.
In an interview with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Daryl Morey, who worked with Zarren in Boston, said that working with him was “unbelievable” and that he “for sure should be a GM somewhere…..He’s sort of a hidden gem up there.” Not only did Zarren receive some praise from Morey, but he was also shouted out on Twitter by none other than Sam Hinkie, the “father of the process”.
— Sam Hinkie (@samhinkie) January 4, 2017
What’s interesting is that Zarren actually turned down the Sixers GM job in 2013, right before they hired Sam Hinkie. Having even more experience under his belt, Zarren should be a very serious candidate for the current opening. Look at the success he’s had with the Celtics. Yes, Danny Ainge ultimately makes the calls but he doesn’t do it alone.
Zarren apparently had a big hand in facilitating the 2017 trade that landed the Celtics the 3rd pick in the draft, Jayson Tatum, and a future 1st round pick in exchange for sending the 1st overall pick in the draft to Philadelphia, which the 76ers used to select Markelle Fultz. Zarren has always been a driving force for the Celtics front office and the rest of the league knows that.
For the Sixers, analytics has become a driving focus. Former GM, Bryan Colangelo had a much bigger impact than many think in this department, as he told our editor Liam Jenkins earlier this year. A team focus on developing analytics hasn’t changed just because the man leading the charge is no longer there.
“We had to go in and develop an entire analytics department. We have nine guys now who are dedicated to helping us make the right decisions. From the standpoint of player selection to how to best utilize players in games, the strategy of preparing for opponents. It’s been one of the biggest developments in the game in the last decade or so. It’s something I felt needed to be addressed.”
It would seem that Zarren could be the perfect fit after all.
Yes, there are bigger names available than Mike Zarren. However, with his experience in the analytics field and front office roles with the Celtics, Zarren may be one of the most qualified candidates out there. Mike Zarren is the perfect choice to become the next General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports