Is Mo Cheeks Job in Jeopardy?

Jenise RolleContributor IDecember 13, 2008

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Ahh, a famous quote from Spiderman the movie, but there seems to be no “super-coaches” in the city of Brotherly Love, except Charlie Manuel of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, of course.

The off-season acquisition of Elton Brand was supposed to make the Philadelphia 76ers a “legitimate contender in the East.” It was supposed to bring the Sixers more opportunities to knock down open shots.

It was supposed to get the Sixers past the first round of the playoffs, but with a 9-14 record, this team has fell way below its pre-season expectations.

Nobody would have expected that one summer and the addition of Mo Williams, would bring the Cleveland Cavaliers a 20-3 start with a 13-0 home record, but it did. It was a given that the Boston Celtics would be the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, but did we really know that their 22-2 start would be the best in Celtics franchise history.

Although a lot was unknown at the start of the season, one thing was sure, and that was if you were a coach of a poor NBA team, you were out the door.

Numerous coaches were “let go” at the beginning of this season. With Eddie Jordan’s poor 1-10 start with the Washington Wizards, and the firing of Sam Mitchell in Toronto, no coach was promised to see another game.

But with the NBA season already ¼ over, the 76ers still have not gotten things together. In Friday’s 88-72 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sixers gave up 20 turnovers and shot 43 percent from the floor.

Due to the team’s bad beginnings, Maurice Cheeks did what any other coach running out of options would do, he switched up the starting lineup. With Willie Green playing shooting guard, Andre Iguodala has been able to move back to his natural small forward position, which is where Iguodala needs to stay. At small forward in the past two games, Iguodala has averaged 21 points, six points higher than his current season average.

Regardless of Iguodala’s improvement and Cheeks decision to place Thaddeus Young on the bench, could things be too late for Cheeks in Philadelphia? Maurice Cheeks understands, as a player, what it means to be at the top, but with this Sixers team he has much more work that he had hoped for at the start of this season.

Let’s not forget that Cheeks was a member of the 1982-83 Sixers championship team, but let us also not forget that Cheeks was fired from his 2004-05 coaching job with the Portland Trailblazers after a 22-33 record.

Even though Maurice Cheeks received a multi-year contract extension with the Sixers at the end of the season, it’s never too late for a coach to lose his job. If Maurice Cheeks wants to keep his job with the Philadelphia 76ers, this team better execute more defense, which will allow them to score more points on the offensive end.

Clearly the Sixers poor performance is not solely based on coaching because this year’s bench has not been consistent or productive. It seems that when one Sixer has an outstanding game, everyone else falls short or below average.

Cheeks may have a great personality, but unfortunately charm does not win games. If the Sixers continue to lose games, there is no doubt that there will be a coaching change.

They will have a chance to redeem themselves during the next few games, when they face a majority of below .500 teams. One thing to keep in mind, is that 76ers General Manager, Ed Stefanski, has a good relationship with former Wizards coach, Eddie Jordan.

Jordan, a coach that likes to run, and the Sixers, a team that wants to run, could be a perfect match. Maybe the East Coast hasn’t seen the last of Eddie Jordan as a head coach on the sidelines. Hey, It’s just a thought!