Michael Curry hasn't yet interviewed with Sixers

michael-curryuspw.jpg

Michael Curry hasn't yet interviewed with Sixers

ORLANDO – The Sixers’ coaching search continues with each passing day and does so in relative secrecy.

Thirteen head coaching vacancies have opened up this offseason and 12 of those jobs have been filled.

The Sixers remain the lone opening and figuring out whom the franchise will tab is anyone’s guess.

Michael Curry served as Doug Collins’ associate head coach. Curry was head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 2008-09 and finished the season with 39-43 record before being fired.

Curry has a year left on his contract along with other assistants Jeff Capel and Aaron McKie. Curry was given the reigns to coach the Sixers’ team in the Orlando Pro Summer League. However, he has not formally interviewed for the position with president and general manager Sam Hinkie.

“Sam and I, we have talked about it. Sometime after the summer league it will happen,” Curry said after the Sixers’ 74-62 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday. “I knew that when he and I first talked that it was going to be a long process and I am under contract, so I said I will be here working every day.

“I said you let me know when you want to talk, and to me every day that you are working you are doing an interview. That is how I have approached it, just go to work every day.”

A year ago, Curry interviewed for the Orlando Magic head coaching position before Jacque Vaughn was hired. This offseason, Curry also interviewed with Milwaukee before Larry Drew was named the Bucks’ new head coach.

Curry is meticulous with his craft. He is definitely a teacher and holds professionalism in high regard. Curry talks to the media daily following each summer league contest and always has the big picture in mind in addition to comments about the game.

“Guys are going to have to play hard and compete every time out on the court,” Curry said. “You can’t make a lot of mental mistakes, especially when you get fatigued. With young guys that is always the challenge, to play through fatigue.

“We have had a lot of practices in the morning and then coming here. But we are not going to let up on them. We are using these 10 days to push them and really identify what they need to work on and they can really identify how hard it is going to be to be successful in this league.”

Curry’s words sound similar to those Hinkie has used when talking about player development, suggesting the two share similar philosophies about how the team should move forward.

Meanwhile sports columnist Peter Vecsey tweeted Wednesday that a source said Hinkie is considering hiring Lloyd Pierce as head coach.

Pierce is an assistant coach with the Grizzlies. He previously worked with the Cavaliers and Warriors in player development. He played his college basketball at Santa Clara, graduating in 1998 and began his coaching career at his alma mater as an assistant in 2003 after spending one year as the program’s director of basketball operations.

One NBA source said Pierce is a highly valued player development guy, but that he would be shocked if the Sixers hired him as their head coach.

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric came into the NBA knowing his rookie season would be one of ups and downs. He would have successes based on his talent and struggle because of the newness of the league and matchups.

Saturday’s performance against the Celtics was one of those highlight nights. Saric scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tying career-highs, for his third double-double. He was efficient in his performance, playing 27 minutes off the bench in the Sixers' 107-106 loss.

“I thought that was his best game as a 76er,” Brett Brown said.

Saric had struggled the night before against the Magic. He barely made a dent in 16 minutes, posting just two points (1 for 5 from the field) without a single rebound. The poor showing was on his mind Saturday, as he got ready for the second game of the back-to-back. He went in early to get up extra shots, met with coaches, studied film and thought about the matchup throughout the day.

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said. “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

Saric showed his aggressiveness in crunch time in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven points and five rebounds in eight minutes. He nailed a three to cut the Celtics' lead to 92-91 with 4:28 to play. Then with 1:09 remaining, Saric’s free throws cut the Celtics' lead to two points. On the other end of the court, he snagged the rebound off an Isaiah Thomas miss and scored a game-tying layup from Jahlil Okafor.  

“He played great,” Okafor said. “He’s working hard every day, getting used to the NBA process. It was good to see hard work paying off for him.”

Saric has been adjusting to new roles throughout the season. He was thrown into the starting power forward spot when Ben Simmons was injured, and then moved to the bench when the team acquired Ersan Ilyasova. On Saturday, Brown also played Saric at small forward in Robert Covington’s (knee) absence, a shift the Sixers may try again.

“He’s a good teammate,” Brown said. “He’s biding his time. He understands he’s a rookie. Incrementally, he’ll be given these opportunities. Tonight he did and he responded and you’re seeing continued growth.”

Saric still is early in his NBA career, and Saturday's showing was a game he can look back on and study for the rest of the season. 

“I feel like tonight … you’d walk away and say, ‘Shoot, that’s a hell of a player for playing 20 games in the NBA and he did what he just did against a hell of a team,’” Brown said. “I’m proud of what we saw all over the place from Dario.”

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

As part of their “Salute Saturday” series, the Sixers honored the 1966-67 championship team at halftime of their 107-106 loss the Celtics on Saturday.

Fifty years after winning the title, the success of the squad (which went 68-13 in the regular season) still resonates with those representing the Sixers today. After all, they are the group Wilt Chamberlain described as “the best team ever.” 

“It’s just part of the history of this city and the organization,” said Brett Brown, who has established a relationship with Billy Cunningham through practice visits and emails. “There was a toughness with that team that he personified and the city sort of reflects. It’s stuff you hear me talk about all the time how you want our team to reflect the spirit of the city. That team did it.”

Prior to their tribute ceremony, members of the team reflected on their run in which they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the title. 

On Wilt Chamberlain
“Wilt was such a dominant figure, not only as a basketball player, but he’s almost bigger than the game,” Matt Goukas said. “He played so well, he was such a good team player – he started really passing the ball right around that time --and that enabled great scorers like Hal (Greer) and Billy and Chet Walker to do their thing, and Wilt was very happy to give them that leeway.”.

On fond memories
“It was a team that we played well together and we lived as a family and that’s what made it so good for us," Greer said. "A lot of fun, a lot of fun. We missed the next year, but 68-13 is not bad at all.”

“It’s hard to forget a situation like that where we had such a terrific team and the season went so quickly, we won so many games and then of course winning a championship,” Goukas said. “As a first year player I said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be, I guess.’ But of course I never won another championship as a player, but we had such a terrific group of guys and true professionals that for me as a rookie, Billy Melchionni as a rookie, we really benefited from guys like Hal Greer, Wally Jones and Harry Costello, they really showed us the way.”

On team chemistry
“It was very difficult times when you look at the sixties from a social aspect,” Cunningham said. “Martin Luther King was killed the following year we won the championship. Race relationships weren’t the best. And this time, which was just about half black-half white, I’m not even sure, it was never an issue. That’s the beauty I think of being on a team you know getting to know people, you judge them as an individual and nothing more than that.”

“I think it was our coach Alex Hannum, for one (that kept the team together),” Greer said. “And of course the big guy. He held us together most of the time, he could rebound, play defense, do it all.”