Philadelphia 76ers Should Make a Run at Larry Brown

Tim NguyenCorrespondent IMay 5, 2013

Philly and Larry Brown reunion in 2013? Very much a possibility
Philly and Larry Brown reunion in 2013? Very much a possibilityStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the resignation of Doug Collins at the end of the 2012-13 season, Sixers fans and players are wondering who the organization will hire as the new head coach for the upcoming season.

Doug Collins had a great run as Sixers coach, coming back to the organization that drafted him No. 1 overall as a player all the way back in 1973—though he never really lived up to hype of that draft position.

As a player he was average, and as a coach he had the fortune of coaching Michael Jordan twice—the greatest basketball player of all time—but never won a championship with him. Collins has accomplished everything a man could wish for in an NBA career, except for that elusive title.

He came onboard with the Sixers in the 2010 offseason after a down year in 2009 where the team won only 27 games, saw Allen Iverson come back for 25 games and fell 10 games behind .500 in as early as December.

He helped draft Evan Turner, who has widely been considered a bust. Collins' biggest success has to be coaching the Sixers to the second round of the playoffs in the 2011-12 season, where they beat the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs in six games, albeit the Bulls' starting point guard Derrick Rose got hurt and couldn't play in the rest of the series after tearing his ACL in Game 1.

Collins and his crew traded for Andrew Bynum in the 2012 offseason, taking a calculated gamble that they lost because Bynum never played a game for them this past year and is set to be an unrestricted free agent. The Sixers finished ninth in the East, less than five games out of the last playoff spot.

Top coaching candidate Phil Jackson was recently lured away by the Detroit Pistons, leaving some big names out there including Jeff Van Gundy and his brother Stan. Some people are also suggesting Brian Shaw, Michael Curry, Jeff Hornacek and Larry Drew as other possible candidates. Shaw has never been a head coach in the NBA, nor has Hornacek. Drew is the current coach of the Atlanta Hawks but could be on the way out.

The best choice in my view would be a reunion with former Sixers coach Larry Brown. Brown had a tumultuous run with the Sixers, coaching the team from 1997 to 2003, and abruptly quitting the job in 2003. Brown frequently clashed with franchise player Allen Iverson, though the two were able to coexist in what would result in the franchise's first finals berth since 1983 when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 NBA Finals.

Brown is a defensive-minded coach, an NBA championship-winning coach (2003-04 Pistons) and is widely respected around the league. He is 72, although that should not disqualify him from any position.

As a coach, Brown can really make an impact because of who he is and what he has done in the NBA. His last NBA coaching gig, coaching the Charlotte Bobcats from 2008-10, resulted in the franchise's first playoff berth. Who knows what he can do with a Sixers team featuring better players and a city ready to embrace him? Currently, Brown is coaching the SMU Mustangs in college.

Perhaps Doug Collins will get that ring hes always been looking for as an advisor for the Sixers, although he will be watching from upstairs, rather than the sidelines and rooting for a coach he might select.

Even if they don't ultimately make a run at Brown, why not pursue someone with Philly roots? Try Moses Malone or Dr. J, for example—fans would love that. Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, or other key members of the '01 finals teams as potential coaches? Not a bad idea, especially with McKie working for the team now as assistant.

How about this one: Allen Iverson?