Mike D’Antoni Joins 76ers as Associate Head Coach
The Philadelphia 76ers have confirmed the addition of Mike D’Antoni to their coaching staff as associate head coach.
D’Antoni, 64, spent 12 seasons as a head coach in the NBA, most recently two years with the Los Angeles in 2012-13 and 2013-14. His greatest success came during his five-year stint as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, from when he took over for Frank Johnson during the 2003-04 season until he left following the 2007-08 season to go to New York.
During his time in Phoenix D’Antoni went 253-136, including two 60-win seasons, back-to-back Western Conference Finals appearances, and playoff appearances in each of his last four years.
D’Antoni won the 2004-05 Coach of the Year award when his Phoenix Suns, who had gone 29-53 the previous season, won 62 games and reached the Western Conference Finals, where they fell to the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
D’Antoni became famous for his “7 seconds or less” offensive system which emphasized floor spacing, a fast paced style of play, and a heavy reliance on the three-point shot. In many ways, D’Antoni’s offensive system was revolutionary, and years ahead of its time.
The league has seen a marked increase in both pace and three-point attempts in recent years. Teams used, on average, 90.1 possessions and attempted 14.9 three-pointers per game during the 2003-04 season. Both have jumped significantly, with teams using 93.9 possessions and attempting 22.4 three-pointers per game last season.
D’Antoni’s success, and research from the statistical analysis community that promotes increased pace and three-point attempts, have been instrumental in promoting “pace and space” offensive systems.
D’Antoni has recently been critical of post-up players in today’s NBA. While exactly how much influence D’Antoni will have has yet to be ironed out, all eyes will be on how he integrates Jahlil Okafor‘s post-heavy offensive game into his style of play.
Okafor leads the Sixers in scoring at 17.8 points per game, while leading the league in possessions used out of the post.
Update: 5:16 PM
Updated the story to include the Sixers’ confirmation.