Why the Sixers Must Name Allen Iverson Head Coach

Why the Sixers Must Name Allen Iverson Head Coach

The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the past month conducting one of the most boring, uneventful, irrelevant coaching searches in the history of sports.

Ever since the team announced the resignation of Doug Collins and the hiring of math nerd Sam Hinkie as general manager, we've seen nothing but candidates who are either retreads or assistants you've never heard of -- and no indication that the team is in any hurry to actually hire someone.

And the guys they’ve considered don’t exactly excite me. Brian Shaw, an obscure 1980s Laker best known for dating Madonna? Kelvin Sampson, the guy who got fired from Indiana for NCAA violations? Jeff Hornacek, 'cause it turned out so well the last time he came to town? Chris Finch, you mean this guy?

Are any of these guys going to get our fanbase excited, make the Sixers relevant, or make tickets cost more than 72 cents on Stubhub? Of course not.

I was intrigued by the recent move by the Brooklyn Nets to hire as their new coach Jason Kidd, a former star point guard who led the team to the finals as a player, only recently stopped playing, and had no prior coaching experience. I got to thinking- if only the Sixers had someone like that they could turn to…

Yes, the Sixers must hire Allen Iverson as their next head coach. And the more you think about it, the more of a no-brainer it is.

Everything good that has happened to the Sixers in the last two decades has been because of Allen Iverson. He led them to their only finals appearance and won their only MVP award. And more importantly, he's respected by players and revered by fans. And yes, the man needs a job.

Now, I know what the naysayers are going to say.

How can we hire a coach who doesn't like practice? To that I say, please. Where has practicing every day gotten the team in the last 15 years?

Sure, Iverson's name in the last few years has often been associated with financial woes, alcoholism and gambling addiction. But to say that being broke, or that having a weakness for drinking and betting means you don't deserve a job is a slap in the face to any fan in this great city who has ever dealt with any of the above. And didn't Jason Kidd get popped for a DUI just a couple of months ago?

The question isn't whether the Sixers can risk hiring Allen Iverson. It's whether they can risk not hiring him. And to think- the Coach Iverson Era might even make Eskin's show listenable again.

Other Philly sports takes:

- I heard Lenny Dykstra got out of jail yesterday. Can he be in the Phillies' lineup today?

- I can't believe this latest baseball steroid investigation. MLB should vacate the last five World Series and award them to the Phillies.

- It's an outrage to me that Jason Peters was arrested for drag racing last week. The Eagles need to make it clear that such criminals aren't tolerated on their team, and Michael Vick needs to take the lead in doing so.

- The Cary Williams Sconse interview was the most embarrassing of the year for a Philadelphia athlete, and that includes the time Ilya Bryzgalov praised Stalin.

- Just think, if only McNabb hadn't blown it in the Super Bowl, that would've been Jeffrey Lurie's Super Bowl ring that Vladimir Putin stole

- Let's all shed a tear for Rick Reilly, who didn't find Merion to his liking. Let's hope next time Philadelphia hosts a major sporting event, they give more of an effort attending to the needs of big-time national sportswriters.

You can follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter here.

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH --- Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to stand the heat Sunday afternoon.

The game-time temperature was 89 degrees with humidity to match at PNC Park. The Phillies' right-hander admitted he didn’t handle the weather well.

"You're going to go through various conditions, and it's something that you've got to really take into consideration -- to really lock in, stay hydrated because it can mentally drain you,” Velasquez said. “It kind of took a toll on me but I have to make the best of what I've got.”

Velasquez wound up pitching six innings in the blistering heat but did not factor in the decision as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Phillies 5-4 on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his first in the major leagues, off fellow rookie Edubray Ramos (see Instant Replay).

Velasquez had his worst of his five starts since coming off the disabled list June 26, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking four and striking out five. He threw 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In his first four outings after begin activated, he was 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA to raise his record to 8-2.

“Just looking at his body language, he showed that he was struggling to find the strike zone,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He didn't have his best location. He did a good job; he just made a couple bad pitches when they scored the two runs. Obviously, he wasn't at his best, but he kept us in the game.”

While that kind of outing can breed confidence in a 24-year-old pitcher, Velasquez took no consolation in it. He was bothered about not being able to hold a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up a tying two-run home run to Matt Joyce.

“I knew it was my last inning when I went out there and I have to be able to close it out there,” Velasquez said. “I’m disappointed in that. I need to be better in that situation.”

Joyce’s blast came on pitch after Starling Marte doubled on an 0-2 pitch. That, too, annoyed Velasquez.

“That's just a matter of finishing at-bats,” Velasquez said. “You've got to lock in on 0-2 counts when you're ahead. You've got to finish the at-bat. Knowing that that was my last inning, that's where you have to bear down and give it all you've got.”

Ramos then gave up the game-winning homer to Frazier an inning later, the first long ball given up by the 23-year-old right-hander in 14 career outings. The Phillies wound up losing two of three games in the series and are 3-7 since the All-Star break to drop to 10 games under .500 at 45-55 through 100 games.

“It’s a game we should have won but I put us in position to lose it,” Velasquez said.

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

Dallas Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Four people were killed Sunday when bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players collided with a van on a northwestern Arizona highway.

The fatalities were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. But the bus occupants emerged uninjured.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Jeremy Hellickson may be staying in the NL East past the trade deadline. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Phillies are scouting the Marlins' minor league teams in advance of a possible Hellickson deal. 

This comes on the heels of a report from a radio host in Miami that Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen may need Tommy John surgery. Chen left with an elbow sprain during Wednesday's loss to the Phillies and was placed on the disabled list. Ironically, Chen was starting against Hellickson, who will face Jarred Cosart in place of Chen on Monday.

Hellickson's value rebounded significantly this season after struggling in Arizona and Tampa Bay the last few seasons. After dealing with a shoulder injury, Hellickson pitched to ERAs above 4.50 in each season from 2013-15, leading to the Diamondbacks trading him to the Phillies for limited value. 

However, in 20 starts, Hellickson, who will be a free agent after the year, has anchored the Phillies' rotation, bringing a 3.84 ERA over 119 ⅔ innings into Monday's scheduled start. He also has a nearly career-best strikeout rate and has regained his signature command that made him a strong performer with the Rays.

The Phillies are aided this trade deadline by a lack of starting pitching options available on the market. With many teams in contention looking for an additional starter, Hellickson is an attractive piece who could help a team in a pennant race.