New Coach Must Teach 76ers How To Win
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ New ownership, new management, new arena, and now, new coach.
The attempt to usher the beleaguered Philadelphia 76ers into a new era continued Monday, as the team introduced former NBA guard Johnny Davis as its sixth coach in 11 years.
``My goal is simple but lofty. ... I want to bring a championship to the city of Philadelphia,″ Davis said. ``If you can’t be excited about (the new attitude) then something’s wrong.″
Davis replaces John Lucas, fired last month after compiling a 42-122 record in two seasons. Davis joins the Sixers from the Portland Trail Blazers, where he was an assistant for two seasons.
``Johnny Davis possess the total package necessary for NBA coaching success,″ said Sixers general manager Brad Greenberg, who also joined Philadelphia from Portland. ``He is uniquely qualified with 19 years of NBA experience. For years I have known that Johnny Davis is special. For weeks I have felt that he is the right man for this job.″
Team president Pat Croce, who is on a frenzied crusade to prove the Sixers are on the verge of greatness, called the hiring of Davis another part of ``exciting times for the 76ers.″
What could be exciting is watching Davis take his roster, with just five players, and recreate the magic of Julius Irving, Moses Malone and Wilt Chamberlain.
Davis, 40, must motivate Derrick Coleman, one of the best power forwards in the league who can sometimes play well under his potential. Coleman was sidelined most of the season with a severe ankle sprain.
``Last Friday I met with Derrick Coleman,″ Davis said. ``I sat on his living room couch and he and I talked for two hours about what it takes to be a winner.″
Davis said he’s giving Coleman the benefit of the doubt as to whether he’s ready to play. And as for Coleman’s injury: ``His ankle is coming along nicely. He’s just starting to work out again.″
The coach must also forge relationships with guard Jerry Stackhouse and small forward Clarence Weatherspoon, young stars who will be called upon to anchor the team.
Seven other players are also needed, and the Sixers are desperate for a center and point guard.
The Sixers hope to fill some of their needs with the first pick in the NBA draft later this month. That player, likely to be a point guard, will be a key in Davis’ rebuilding plan.
Davis wouldn’t say who he favors, but likely candidates are Georgetown’s Allen Iverson and Georgia Tech’s Stephon Marbury.
``Anyone who is athletic, competitive, smart, and has a strong will is my type of player,″ Davis said. ``There are a lot of talented guards in the league. Any player who has quickness, athleticism and competitiveness, I like.″
Prior to joining P.J. Carlisimo with Portland, Davis was an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks.
A second-round draft pick by Portland in 1976, Davis averaged 8 points per game in 79 regular season games during the 1977 season as the Blazers won the NBA title. He started every game in the finals against the Sixers, averaging 10.7 points and five assists per game.
``I was instrumental in taking a championship away from the 76ers and the city of Philadelphia,″ Davis said. ``Now I want to be instrumental in bringing a championship basketball team back to the Delaware Valley.″
Davis, a Detroit native who played at Dayton, also played with Indiana, Atlanta and Cleveland.