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An Oral Pre-History of the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, Featuring Derrick Coleman and Lots and Lots of Losing

What is this I don't even.

Rush this man's coaching search at your own peril.
Rush this man's coaching search at your own peril.

The following is an oral history of the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, better known as the 6-76ers. Their trials and tribulations rocked the NBA world, and in pity the NBA rigged the lottery so that the Sixers would obtain the #1 pick in the 2014 Draft.

Also, credit goes to The Classical's Tom Keiser for the inspiration.

I. The Coaching Search

Sam Hinkie, Sixers President and GM: We interviewed a lot of candidates for the open coaching position, but seemingly no one wanted the job. Local sports talk media was all over us.

Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports Psychic: By my count, I dropped 202 bombs related to Sixers coaching candidates. I temporarily changed my twitter handle to @SixersHCRumors.

Hinkie: Eventually, by mid-September, we were coming up on the beginning of camp, and we had to make a choice.

Rhea Hughes, WIP Morning Show: *yells loudly for no reason*

David Aldridge, Reporter for and Turner Sports: Knowing Philly media, the front office had to feel that pressure. When else do they talk about the Sixers in September? Never.

Wojnarowski: I knew Michael Curry had no shot. I dropped that bomb too.

Aldridge: Curry would have been the front office's pick after the first 200 candidates not including him dropped out of the race, but the radio loudmouths wanted a big name, and they succumbed to the pressure.

Tom Moore, I think Hinkie worried that Curry would win too much.

Malik Rose, Sixers Broadcaster for CSN: I'm just offended they didn't interview me. They even interviewed Molly Sullivan! I would've been a great head coach!

Thaddeus Young, Suns forward, former Sixer: They interviewed me even though I'm not allowed to coach the team. They interviewed Jason Richardson, too.

Rose: I think by the end, they just started interviewing former Sixers players hoping they'd take the job. The screaming heads knew who they were.

Hughes: *keeps yelling*

Jake Pavorsky, I actually broke the coaching hire before Woj. But I still can't believe they hired Derrick Coleman.

Rose: Poor Michael Curry, he was not ready for this.

Derrick Coleman, former Sixers coach: I was playing rec league when I got the call. I thought they were offering me a contract to play. I needed the money, so I took the coaching gig though.

Hinkie: We needed someone that would listen to the front office and develop our players. Instead, we ended up with Derrick Coleman. At least we would lose games though. And the local talk shows were thrilled, because via a Wikipedia search they realized he used to play for the team.

Hughes: This was the first move that summer that I agreed with. *resumes yelling*

II. The Preseason Trip to Bilbao, Spain

Moore: The first sign of things going wrong was the preseason trip to Spain.

Evan Turner, Sixers guard/forward: I was excited to go to Spain, until I saw the drama that happened before the plane ride.

Young: So we didn't meet Derrick Coleman before the team met up to catch the flight to Spain. Coach Curry ran all the practices and workouts beforehand. So we get to PCOM, and DC finally shows up. And he's loaded.

Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers guard: I think he met up with Iverson at the Friday's on City Line before the trip. That's still a fun place, by the way.

Marc Zumoff, Sixers play-by-play announcer: Malik and I got invited on the trip, and when we saw Derrick, YES!, we knew there would be trouble. He was on the see-saw. Literally on a see-saw!

Lavoy Allen, Sixers Forward/Center: Yeah, he was hammered. *shrugs*

Moore: We heard reports from team officials that DC got into some fights with members of the roster. I even heard he head-butted one of his assistants, though we couldn't prove it.

Turner: Yes, that happened. It was Aaron McKie. (McKie and all assistant coaches declined comment on this story)

Young: The worst thing that happened wasn't even reported. To everyone's surprise, the Sixers allowed Royce White to attend camp. And DC didn't like him. He tried forcing him to board the plane to Spain. And Royce refused. So DC started screaming all kinds of names at him. Terrible things.

Royce White, Sevens forward: Sheesh, people call *me* crazy, and look at him. #BeWell #AnxietyTroopers (author's note: yes he said this out loud)

MCW: That was the most uncomfortable I've been in my entire life, and I got caught shoplifting at Lord & Taylor.

Kwame Brown, former Sixers bench anchor: The screaming woke me up from my nap on the plane. And all the screaming came from Coach Coleman. They had to be separated, which wouldn't work until we dragged Coach onto the plane. Then Royce backed away.

Coleman: That didn't happen.

Allen: Luckily, once we got to Spain, we actually had an enjoyable trip. We found that dinner spot where Bynum went dancing that one time and had a lot of fun.

III. The Promising Start

Rose: To everyone's surprise, the Sixers season actually started off better than expected. They went .500 in preseason because DC played the starters heavy minutes and because other teams weren't pushing as hard. And that helped at the start of the season, too, since players were used to the minutes.

Turner: I thought we had a chance at the playoffs with the way we started. We beat a couple of playoff teams, like the Pacers and Knicks, early on.

Spencer Hawes, Sixers center: Those first 12 games proved to everyone else what I knew all along: that I could be the alpha male on an NBA team. It was my destiny.

Adam Aron, former Sixers CEO: I was ready to reprise my role as Big Bertha's operator, that's how good they looked.

Young: We started 5-7 and people were talking playoffs. I have no idea why. And Spencer took like 25 shots a game, you think the wins were going to last? Please.

Hinkie: We knew this would fall apart, the question was when. We knew where this was going.

Coleman: I told the team to get that big guy the ball. His skills reminded me of mine, and he just needed to be let loose.

Doug Collins, adviser to Sixers owner Josh Harris: I advised the team to make a couple of moves to help the win total. Damien Wilkins was still available as a free agent, and I made a few calls for him. I'm disappointed that Sam (Hinkie) never took my 40 years of basketball experience into consideration. That's why the team fell apart down the stretch.

Jason Richardson, retired Sixers guard: I was injured at this point still, so the only shooters we had were Hawes and that guy who replaced me whose name I forget (author's note: that's James Anderson). So DC thought Hawes should get the ball on the perimeter and go into hero mode on almost every possession. It only worked because other teams were too busy laughing to play defense consistently. That's how we won: sheer hilarity.

Young: And it's not like Hawes made all the shots either - he missed most of them. It just happened that no one covered me on the boards. I averaged something like 12 offensive rebounds a game. It was madness. And I was playing really well.

Hinkie: Young was playing too well, so we traded him to Phoenix for the Morris twins and Michael Beasley, and then we immediately flipped the twins for 3 future second round picks. I thought those assets plus Beasley could really get our team to do what we needed to do.

Marcus Morris, Hawks forward: ‘Kieff and I really wanted to play at home in Philly, for a team off to a good start. I'm sad it didn't happen.

IV. The Meltdown and Aftermath

Turner: Trading Thad really derailed all our momentum, and once that happened we had little else left to do what Thad did, which was try hard consistently and be good on both ends of the floor.

Hawes: I had no help out there. Once we lost Thad and replaced him with Mike Beasley, we had no one who wanted to grabbed my misses. Even worse, Beasley tried taking away my shots. I actually went to Sam and asked for the team to trade one of us, that's how angry I was.

Michael Beasley, Sixers forward: I thought by pairing me with another former #2 pick, we had something going. I just needed the ball.

Coleman: Beasley was the one player who I felt I had a real connection with.

Hawes: I felt like Coach Coleman really worked well with me early on. I even bought matching "America... F-yeah!!!" shirts for us. We even sung The Star-Spangled Banner together at some random bar in Toronto while there for a game, then got kicked out of the bar and nearly thrown into the Humber River. But when Beas came along, everything changed. I felt like I had to go to war for his affection, a war, like the War of 1812; that resulted in a loss for America, and for me.

Richardson: One game in Washington, Spencer came into the locker room in full camouflage and other military gear. I have no idea where he got all that stuff, looking to take on Beasley in some sort of battle.

Hawes: I borrowed the gear from the Smithsonian, another American institution.

Arsalan Kazemi, Sixers forward: I was actually with him earlier in the day. He didn't "borrow" anything, to tell you the truth. But he was really unhappy with Beasley. Luckily, the Verizon Center staff has experience dealing with those issues. And he got suspended for like 10 games. But I don't think Beasley ever knew that it happened.

MCW: At that point, we'd already lost 11 straight, and we lost our leading scorer. I thought having only one of Beasley or Hawes would be the way to reverse course. As it turned out, our best chance of winning came just without Beasley. We lost all 10 games Hawes missed.

Hawes: Those 10 games showed how valuable I was and why I should be THE guy here.

Turner: Once Hawes came back, we were coming off 21 consecutive losses, and Hawes came in with a big head like he's an NBA superstar or something. It really ticked me off, so I went to set him straight.

Coleman: There was a fight in the locker room, started by Evan, and eventually it turned to me banishing him from the team for not being a good teammate.

Beasley: Evan didn't give me the ball enough. I was fine with him leaving.

Turner: DC calling someone out for being a bad teammate was the funniest thing I've ever heard. I took two shots a game and only dribbled an average of around 11 times per possession, that's a big sacrifice on my part. Look, I'm not perfect, and outside people wouldn't get where I'm coming from, but inside people knew what I gave up for the team. And Mike Beasley got the ball on almost every possession! That wasn't easy for me.

Richardson: Turner getting suspended for trying to challenge Spencer Hawes's alpha dog status really made things so much worse. The only player left who could dribble was MCW, and he was a rookie. And because DC let Doug Collins come in and put rookies into the doghouse for him, we didn't even have him.

Hinkie: That was probably Doug's best work as an adviser.

Turner: I got suspended with pay, for the rest of the season. So I went and tore up rec leagues for the next 4 months.

Nerlens Noel, Sixers center: I tried coming back as quickly from the injury as I could, but DC told me I wasn't playing ahead of Hawes and Lavoy, so Hinkie suggested that I take some time with the Sevens. Royce White and I made for a very good tandem. We actually won the D-League title because he wanted to keep us away from the big-league team. Even though our team was better than theirs.

White: We actually had a scrimmage during the all-star break between the teams just because Hinkie thought it would represent how his experiment was working. We played 24 minutes, and the #AnxietyTroopers (my name for the Sevens) won by 14 points. We really wanted to stick it to DC. #BeWell

Coleman: I wanted our team to lose to see how bad we were. I drank through the whole thing.

Moore: Coach Coleman was belligerent throughout the scrimmage, yelling obscenities at the players, coaches, and even the media that were invited to attend. It was about the 30th time I felt uncomfortable during my coverage that season. Then he took the court to teach the kids a lesson. It was not pretty. He passed out during the game and had to be carried out.

Derek Bodner, Poor Michael Curry had to endure the most abuse, and then he had to coach the next night since DC hadn't recovered. The players, seeing how DC treated him, never gave him respect or listened to his questions. He still hasn't surfaced since his contract ended.

Pavorsky: Being underage, I should not have heard all the things I did. But yet, there I was, listening to it all, my outlook on life becoming grimmer.

Noel: Hinkie actually apologized for keeping me in the minors, but he said it was better for my long-term health. After all, I heard that DC accidentally broke Moultrie's ankle in a post-practice pickup game.

MCW: We only won one game after the first twelve. We beat the Bobcats at home to break a 41-game losing streak. Spencer Hawes had a really good shooting night. Also, Beas went missing the night before the game. He returned 4 days later.

Hawes: I made it rain.

Coleman: I've never been prouder after a win. It meant a lot for our team. I even pledged to remain sober for the rest of the season.

Richardson: I don't know how he stayed sober, considering we lost literally every game for the remainder of the season, but he did. Kudos to him, not drinking after 28 consecutive losses.

Hinkie: We went into the season with the goal to not win many games and to develop players. While we didn't develop anything, at least we accomplished the first. Plus, we helped a former Sixer out. It wasn't a bad year in retrospect. But even I didn't want to go through a 41-game losing streak. By the end we started sending players to Delaware to help the Sevens.

Rose: I've never seen a team with that much talent finish with that poor of a record. You couldn't have paid me a million dollars to cover that team.

Richardson: We won one game while I was in uniform. I couldn't take the losing. So I retired.

Hawes: That was the season that turned me into a superstar. I'm a free agent now and just waiting for the offers to roll in.

Coleman: I resigned after the season ended, but I'm still getting paid. I still got it.

Hughes: Does this mean we have to go through ANOTHER COACHING SEARCH? Why don't they just hire the right guy and not waste our time?

Hinkie: My thoughts exactly.

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