Randy Ayers got what was coming to him. The former Philadelphia 76ers head coach was a pushover, a mere shadow of his Hall of Fame predecessor. In a league where winning + fans = dollar signs, it’s a wonder that he lasted as long as he did.I’m sure that his replacement, Chris Ford, will do much better. Even so, I’d like to offer two suggestions: (1) Treat 76ers GM Billy King like he has West Nile. That is, unless he wants to follow King out the back door. The Sixers’ GM has been . . . what’s the word . . . oh yeah . . . violated by Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and company.
We all remember how King was caught like a trout in Larry Brown’s emotional, “Thank you Philadelphia,” nonsense and let the bag-eyed bandit sneak off to the team that knocked his boys out of the playoffs. No compensation. No respect. I bet ‘Ol Larry Boy still wakes up giggling over that farce.
For many Philly fans, that was understandable. After all, we’d seen so much crappy management that stupidity had become relative.
Then Isaiah Thomas stepped into the picture and someone forgot to tell him that his Knicks played in the Eastern Conference. Evidently missing the “We’ve got to suck” memo, he traded a handful of Jolly Ranchers out West and fished out Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway.
Then, he loosed Kieth Van Horn (aka the Big Marshmal-low) in favor of athletic Tim Thomas and all of a sudden, one of the league’s Jay Leno gags is a championship contender.
In the same span of time, King . . . watched. And ad-mired. And probably tapped his head, saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Here’s hoping he took notes. He’ll need them at his next job.
(2) Treat Allen Iverson like an adult. It’s hard to believe, but the doe-eyed scoring champion is pushing thirty. This makes me wonder: why did Larry Brown insist on calling him “The Kid?” LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are kids, Iverson, (28) is a grown man. Yet, the Inquirer reported that he missed one of Ford’s practices last week.
Then after getting his hand slapped, he cried to the press, “The most frustrating thing in that meeting [with the Sixers’ coaching staff] was hearing a guy that I don’t know [Ford] tell me I don’t have respect for my teammates, my teammates don’t have respect for me, and that my teammates feel I don’t bring it every day . . . No coach ever questioned whether I brought it every day. None of my teammates from grade school ever questioned whether I bring it every day.”
Yup. Except those pain-in-the-arse practice days. You know, those pesky annoyances that let one’s young teammates learn the plays. Sure many of them stink. Yet isn’t that more reason to be on time for practice?
To push the dead weight into competence? Hey AI, this is no smear campaign. Every time your “We’re talkin’ about practice” line gets old, you do something to make us print it again.
Oh, and side-memo to Chris Ford The Answer’s word is as good as soaked monopoly money. Remember his “I’ll be a dog in your front yard” promise to Randy Ayers? He ended up a neutered poodle.
Remember the “We’ve got no heart or commitment” tirade? Obviously not enough to inspire any change in practice habits. So Chris, keep treating him like an adult. If he misses another practice, bench him again.
In a season where your team was caught dozing at the starting blocks, you might as well set some standards. Even if Chris Ford is a magician, I find it hard to believe that he’ll mold this group into an outfit that this city can be proud of.
Brown knew that he couldn’t do it, so he bounced. Ayers thought that he could cajole his way to success, and he lasted 54 games. The Sixers are a defensive team that doesn’t play defense.
Losses of stoppers like Theo Ratliff and George Lynch, combined with the deterioration of Aaron McKie and the acquisition of scoring sieves like Glenn Robinson and Kyle Korver, make them a team lost in transition. Brown knew so. Ford is about to find out.