Saturday , Dec , 13 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Nice guys finish last: Like Portland, Mo Cheeks blamed for underachieving Philadelphia

Cheeks inherited another difficult situation when returning to Philadelphia, an organization he won an NBA Title with as a player and cut his coaching chops as an assistant on Larry Brown’s staff. The 76ers were transitioning away from the cap-heavy, veteran squads that contended in the Eastern Conference …

Nice guys finish last: Like Portland, Mo Cheeks blamed for underachieving PhiladelphiaBreaking NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News: The slumping Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday became the fifth NBA team to make a coaching change before Christmas this season, deciding they had to fire Maurice Cheeks despite extending his contract twice in the past year.

As reported by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, citing sources close to the situation, Cheeks was informed of his dismissal Saturday morning after the Sixers suffered their eighth loss in 10 games Friday night at Cleveland and dropped to 9-14. (ESPN News)

My Very Quick Analysis: Philadelphia firing Mo Cheeks proves nice guys still finish last in the cutthroat world of pro sports. For better or worse, he has always been a gentleman.

Cheeks’ first head coaching gig was with the notorious Jail Blazers. It didn’t matter he was Portland’s only ambassador, even saving a child-singer who forgot the national anthem at The Rose Garden. Management never empowered him to deal with players. And for years, before eventually getting fired, he was a lame duck sideline boss.

Cheeks inherited another difficult situation when returning to Philadelphia, an organization he won an NBA Title with as a player and cut his coaching chops as an assistant on Larry Brown’s staff. The 76ers were transitioning away from the cap-heavy, veteran squads that contended in the Eastern Conference.

After Philadelphia traded Allen Iverson in December 2006, Cheeks again seemed caught in another lame duck situation. But improved play from the youngsters and a 2008 playoff appearance landed him an extension.

The extension came with expectations. This summer, the 76ers spent a combined 185 million dollars on Andre Iguodala, Louis Williams and free agent Elton Brand. Most, myself included, expected big things, not a disappointing 9-14 record.

So far, Philadelphia hasn’t gelled, so something, or someone, had to give. Letting go of the nice guy coach was the easy move to make.

Did Cheeks deserve to be fired? Should the players share in the blame? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts and opinions. Return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of clumsyfly215.