New developments have been made in The Search For The Sixers Next Head Coach™. According to reports, the Sixers are interested in two assistants from the Houston Rockets. Specifically, they're rumored to be targeting Chris Finch and Kelvin Sampson. It's no surprise that the Sixers have interest in Rockets assistants considering new GM Sam Hinkie's background in Houston.
First, we'll take a look at Finch. Here's the report from Eskin:
Told 2day that in lead 4 next #sixers HC is Houston Rockets assistant Chris Finch. From Reading PA, and HC overseas 4 a few @fox29philly— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) May 21, 2013
As you can see, Finch (43) is originally "FROM HERE". Despite being a local guy, he's spent plenty of time overseas as both a player and a coach. Along with coaching some Euro teams, he oversaw the men's basketball British national team. Finch's coaching experience in the US includes a successful stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who won a NBA D-League championship under him in 2010.
From what I've gleaned, he is seen as an "offensive coach". Here's an interesting Finch nugget (yum) I found in a 2011 interview:
[Q]: I know you believe in freedom on offense and virtually no freedom on defense. What do you want to define this team offensively?
[Finch]: I want us to always be on the attack. I want us to look and feel like a herd of horses coming down the floor every single time. I want us to really, first and foremost, put the defense under pressure every way possible and I want to see us share the ball. We want to run and keep the tempo high, but to do that we have to value the right shots and we have to do it unselfishly.
Finch has be touted by some as a potential successor to current Rockets coach Kevin McHale. If that's true, he could be hard to pry away from Houston if the Rockets really do value him for their future. It also means that Hinkie could indeed highly covet him for the open job in Philadelphia.
The other Houston assistant's name that has come up in the coaching search is Kelvin Sampson. According to a report, the Sixers have received permission to interview him.
Sampson (57) has years of coaching experience in both the pros and the college ranks. Reports indicate that he's also a candidate for a number of other open coaching jobs this off-season.
Here's what The Dream Shake (Rockets SBN site) had to say about him:
In a lot of ways, Sampson is an old school guy. His father coached basketball, a hard brand of basketball, and those values clearly stuck with him. If you're not rebounding, hustling down the floor, or playing defense, say hello to the bench. At the same time, he is an incredibly hard worker. Players respect that, and he's managed to connect with stars at every step of the way. James Harden in particular has become close with Sampson, and I'm sure if the Sixers hired him, he'd build great relationships with star big men Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown as well.
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Hiring a coach from Houston would make a lot of sense for the Sixers. The familiarity with Hinkie and the kind of expectations he has would help the new coach fit in here. It would also be ideal for creating an exciting offense that looks to take good shots, similar to the Rockets offense.
Keep an eye on these names as the Sixers continue their search.