Ranking five coaching candidates linked to the Sixers



Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey leaves after a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s training facility, Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

After just three years, it’s time to replace Doc Rivers. Here are my rankings on who the Sixers should hire.


Nick Nurse – Nurse was successful in his time with Toronto and is an NBA champion and a former COTY. He is fresh from a 5-year stint with the Raptors following their first-ever title in 2019. Nurse is known as a good decision maker and a reasonable adjustment maker. Two things that Doc struggled with in his time in Philly. Hiring Nick Nurse would change the Sixers on and off the court. He would undoubtedly mark a change in the Philadelphia locker room.


Sam Cassell – The coach of the future may already be in the building. Cassell spent this past season as an assistant coach for the Sixers. His decision-making can be tremendous for the Sixers in the future. Cassell has been an assistant for quite some time. He spent time with Doc in LA as an assistant for the Clippers, then went to Washington as an assistant, then went to Philly. He has experience as an assistant but not as a head coach. Many Philly fans love him, but his lack of experience could hurt the Sixers in the future. A team that is a lock to win the championship and has high expectations for its head coach would prefer a veteran over a rookie.


Monty Williams – Monty is fresh from a fantastic four-year stint with the Phoenix Suns. He also had two stints with the Sixers before his time in Phoenix, one as a player and one as a coach. Monty led Phoenix to the finals in 2021 but came up short against the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. He also won Coach of the Year in 2022 and finished as the first seed for multiple seasons. Williams is known for his play-calling and has a ton of playoff experience. Monty could be precisely what Philly needs. Williams fits into the description of what the Sixers should seek in the next coach as a well-respected shot-caller with recent postseason experience.


Mike Budenholzer- Budenholzer would be a great coach for the Sixers. He had a 271-120 regular season record over five years, and his most notable stint with the Bucks was most recently. The Bucks advanced twice to the Eastern Conference Finals during the postseason and won the NBA championship in 2021. His defensive mind would boost the team, and his championship experience could help. Budenholzer can fix the Sixers’ struggles and puzzle the Tobias Harris situation together. Budenholzer may be the ideal candidate to help lead a team that includes Joel Embiid because of his experience coaching multiple MVP winners. 


Mike D’Antoni – We aren’t the Philadelphia Rockets. Mike D’Antoni has been in previous talks for the Sixers’ head coaching job but has never earned the position. MDA’s offense is top-tier, and it’s crazy to think about what he did with James Harden in Houston. For Embiid, he does not match the type of big player who flourishes in his offense, and their relationship would be interesting. He could do wonders on offense with Maxey and Harden. Although he has previously won Coach of the Year, he has never proved himself to be considered a winning coach. He hasn’t had a head coaching job since 2020, and his coaching drought continues.