It’s a routine experience at this point in time, but Vilannova head coach Jay Wright has once again been ruled out for the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching gig. Wright making the switch from college ball to the pros has long been rumored, but this year was the first time people felt he had a real chance to land the Sixers job. The team has obviously recently separated with longtime coach Brett Brown, and they are in desperate need for a new voice in the locker room.
Wright has been a coach at Villanova for almost 20 years now, and he has emerged as one of the brightest minds in not only college, but in all of basketball around the world. “Nova” has consistently remained at the top of the NCAA in terms of success and recruiting since Wright took over, and Wright has guided the team to two national championships over the last two seasons.
Having so much success at the collegiate level has led to Jay Wright being heavily linked to the Sixers for as long as I can remember, but once again the veteran college coach has shut down any rumors of him taking his talents to the pro level. In a post to his Twitter account on Wednesday, Wright revealed that he was not a candidate for the 76ers vacant head coaching position.
Citing his respect for the 76ers organization as the reason for his statement, Wright appears to have felt it was necessary to address all the speculation publicly, in hopes of settling down some of the rumors. Wright is a lifelong Sixers fans, so he undoubtedly hears these types of rumors when they pop up. By shutting these types of links down sooner rather than later, it also opens the door for the Sixers front office to focus their efforts on other coaching candidates.
For what it’s worth, Wright’s transition to the NBA might not have been as smooth as some fans were hoping. At Villanova, Wright had the power and influence to recruit elite-caliber talent that he wanted to work with, while with the Sixers he would have been handed a massively dysfunctional Al Horford and Tobias Harris paired starting five.
As great of a coach as Wright is, I’m not sure if even he would have been able to fix the Sixers current doomsday situation.
The Philadelphia 76ers front office and ownership will now have to turn their attention to other potential hiring candidates, with Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd most recently emerging as the favorites to land the position. Lue has championship-level experience in recent years, but he also had the benefit of working with LeBron James. Kidd really has zero promising coaching experience, but his heavily accoladed playing career has led some to believe that he could help Ben Simmons take the next step forward in his own personal development.
Other candidates like Kenny Atkinson, Stan Van Gundy, and Ime Udoka have also emerged as potential hires.
In all reality, none of the currently proposed head coaching hires are all that exciting. Each have their own respective drawbacks, and none appear to have the repertoire of someone who could come in and elevate the team to a championship level.
Mandatory Credit – Frank Franklin II