Jrue Holiday: 76ers should promote Michael Curry

Michael Curry, who crafted the Sixers' defensive strategy, held the team together last season, players say. AP
Michael Curry, who crafted the Sixers' defensive strategy, held the team together last season, players say. AP
Posted: May 10, 2013

If the 76ers were to heed the advice of their all-star point guard, they would call off the search for the team's next coach and promote from within.

As the 76ers ramp up the search for their eighth coach in the last 11 seasons, Jrue Holiday, who has voiced his opinion that the Sixers should consult him during the search, cast his vote for the promotion of associate coach Michael Curry.

"I've known him for the last three years," Holiday said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "He's somebody I trust, and somebody I'd love as a head coach."

With Curry playing a major role in his development, Holiday averaged career highs in points (17.7 per game), assists (8.0), and rebounds (4.2) in what was one of the few bright spots for the Sixers last season. He signed a four-year deal worth close to $45 million in November.

While former coach Doug Collins could be abrasive in his communication with some of the Sixers, Collins said he often turned to Curry to be a buffer.

Holiday went even further.

"I think he was the glue to our team last year," Holiday said of Curry. "Obviously we were defensive-based, which is big for us. That was our calling card, and Mike was responsible for that."

With Curry constructing the defensive strategy, the Sixers have allowed 96.5 points per game (ninth in the NBA), 89.4 (second), and 97.5 (12th) in the last three seasons.

Evan Turner, who also had his best season in his first campaign as a starter, also endorsed a Curry promotion.

"We really don't have a lot of room to start all over again when you look at us," said Turner, who averaged career highs in points (13.3), rebounds (6.3), assists (4.3), and three-point shooting (36.5 percent). "I think it would be great for the organization. We respect Mike."

Turner admitted that he and Collins clashed at times. In those moments, according to Turner, he often looked to Curry to smooth the waters.

"He was great because he was calm in certain situations, and that helps," Turner said. "He never really panicked. That's something that players need."

Before he joined the Sixers, Curry, 44, coached the Detroit Pistons for one season (2008-09) and guided them to a 39-43 record and into the first round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Since then, the Pistons have failed to reach the playoffs and have not won more than 30 games in a season.

Curry spent 11 seasons as a player in the NBA, beginning in 1993 when he made the Sixers as an undrafted rookie out of Georgia Southern. From 2001 to 2003, Curry served as the president of the National Basketball Players Association. He also did a stint from 2005 to 2006 as the NBA Development League's vice president of player development and the NBA vice president of basketball operations.


Contact John N. Mitchell at  jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

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