Philadelphia 76ers: Woj just opened the Jay Wright Pandora’s Box

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are “monitoring” Jay Wright.

Well, it happened; it finally happened. Not five minutes after Brett Brown was officially relieved of his duties by the Philadelphia 76ers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski just casually floated a potential replacement candidate for his job: Villanova head coach Jay Wright.

Oh, Woj, do you even comprehend what you’ve done?

Now to be fair, Wright wasn’t the lone candidate suggested by ESPN’s NBA Insider. Tyronn Lue, the ex-Cleveland Cavaliers head coach who was famously stepped over by Allen Iverson, and Brown’s former top assistant, Ime Udoka, are also considered top candidates for the role, and in theory, either would be a solid option.

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Lue, a current assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, won a championship with the Cavs paired up with another point forward in LeBron James, and has a ton of clout within the league thanks to his status as a former player. The same goes for Udoka, a 6-foot-6 utility wing who spent the brunt of his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs before jumping to the other side of the bench. Udoka has experience with the 76ers’ current corps and could easily bridge the gap between what worked under Brown and a smarter, younger approach to the game.

But neither is Wright, and thus, in the eyes of many Philadelphia 76ers fans, neither is right.

Since he arrived on the Main Line – but really since winning his first championship in 2016 – Wright has been viewed as a sort of coach-in-waiting for many fans in the City of Brotherly Love. Wright is young – one year younger than Brown – hip, and savvy. He’s a sharp-dresser who runs a four-guard scheme that prioritizes space and pace over whatever the heck the Sixers were doing this year. In theory, he’s perfect, right?

Is his offense really NBA ready? Eh, not with the Sixers’ current roster, that’s for sure, but that can easily be remedied. With Trey Burke popping off with the Mavericks, maybe the 76ers could trade their first-round pick to Dallas for Wright’s star pupil, Jalen Brunson, and build a sort of Villanova East (South?) with the former five-star running the point, some shooters on the wings, Ben Simmons in the dunker spot, and Joel Embiid doing Joel Embiid things both beyond the arc and in the paint.

Is that an idealistic take? Sure, but that’s the thing that has always drawn Philly fans to Wright: Idealism.

Wright does things the, well, right way, at Villanova. He runs a tight ship, typically prioritizes giving minutes to upperclassmen, and knows how to nurture young talent to its best potential. When the Sixers’ offense looks complacent, tired, and ineffective, there’s always Wright right across the way to pine over and fantasize about. Could he be the next Nick Nurse? What about John Beilein. No, no, no. Jay Wright is nothing like John Beilein, a college coach whose guard-heavy scheme doesn’t work in the NBA, get that thought right the heck out of here.

Wright is going to work in the NBA because, well, because he is – that’s why.

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Look, do I have faith that the Philadelphia 76ers’ front office will get this signing, right? Honestly, no, but that’s a topic for another article. What I do know, however, is that by mentioning the name Jay Wright as a viable candidate for the job, Adrian Wojnarowski just inadvertently tipped the scales in the minds of many Philly fans in the Villanova head coach’s favor, which, in turn, will all but certainly leave many disappointed when the organization goes another way. Boy, isn’t being a Philadelphia sports fan just the gosh darn best?