No more Mo ball. It’s Di Leo time
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 14, 2008
My buddy Raffaele, cofounder of Sixers4guidos, sent me a text message less than an hour ago.
“Fired !! – literally. He wrote that in english, LOL . If you had listened to me before, now we could have bragged that it’s also because of us. Too late…”
So I run home after dinner to write this.
Raffaele is not a great fan of Maurice Cheeks, as you could guess. He never was, to be honest. Similar for me. He thought that we must start asking for Cheeks’ head.
I was extremely disappointed by Sixers’ 9-14 start just as about any Sixers fan, but I had decided to wait a little more before hoping for a change on the bench, even if poor coaching has been pointed out countless times on this site.
Ed Stefanski had different opinions, and less patience, clearly. That’s why he gave Mo the axe, and put Tony Di Leo, assistant general manager, as interim coach.
My first reaction is this.
I never liked Cheeks much, but I have a tremendous respect for what he did last year, that to me was nearly a miracle, some coach-of-the-year material (4th in the ballot).
Reaching the playoffs with that roster, and playing that (fun) basketball, was a masterpiece. I mean, when your big men are Sam Dalembert, Reggie Evans and Jason Smith, when your starting SG is Willie Green, and you still reach a 40-42 record, take the Pistons to game 6, and all by playing an exciting basketball, with tough defense and tons of fastbreaks, you have to take your hat off to the coach.
This year was another story, unfortunately. An excellent roster on paper, a deep bench, tons of solutions at any spot, a lot of money invested, and a pretty easy schedule to start. Being at 9-14 wasn’t what fans and management expected.
You can’t fire players (unfortunately. I would have gladly canned a couple of them by now…). So Mo will get the blame, despite being “a gentlemam throughout” and “a class act” (words by Stefanski). That’s how the business goes in the NBA.
Yes, he could/should have done better. Poor rotations. Lack of solutions in the half court and in crunch time. Bad execution. Many players underperforming. No patterns.
But I would have waited another 8-10 games, at least the end of our New Year’s eve West trip.
Good luck Tony Di Leo, see you Maurice Cheeks.
More coverage and a deeper analysis in the next days.