Mark Jackson may think he’s too good to coach the Philadelphia 76ers, but the same isn’t true of former Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell. Smitch is scheduled to be the third interviewee for the gig according to Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News, and if nothing else, he would definitely be a bit different than Eddie Jordan.
Jasner describes Mitchell as a “tough, demanding, in-your-face style of coach,” which is technically true. The only problem is that other coaches of a similar style have found far more success than Mitchell. He did coach the Raps to two straight playoff appearances and a franchise-high 47 wins in 2006-2007, but for all of his demands and toughness, he never instilled similar qualities in his teams, which lacked both defense and offensive discipline.
His first two years in Toronto were plagued by horrid defense, and the subsequent two by slightly above average D. Maybe some would consider that an accomplishment given the less-than star-laden Raptor rosters, but considering that the Bucks and the Bobcats finished as the top two defensive teams this season (in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions), I don’t really see the excuse.
I don’t know if Mitchell’s coaching style could quite be classified as ‘authoritarian,’ but generally speaking the “in-your-face” approach needs to be met with consistent results or else it risks player alienation. Winning goes a long way in containing the fire, and without it? Things can get a bit trying.
Then again, maybe Smitch really was a victim of circumstance in Toronto. The Philly job would give him a decent opportunity to polish his reputation, even if the Sixers’ roster isn’t exactly ideal for making it sterling.