Brett Brown Rumors
On Monday morning, Sixers head coach Brett Brown spoke with Malik Rose and Jared Greenberg of SiriusXM NBA Radio about the talented young big man, among other topics. “To think that in three drafts you got Nerlens [Noel], and Joel [Embiid], and Jah (Jahlil Okafor), it’s quite an amazing accomplishment when you look at the quality of those bigs,” he said. “We always went into [the draft] saying, ‘Whoever the best player is, that’s who you want.’ You really can’t get tricked on trying to draft for position, I feel. And if Nerlens hadn’t gotten injured, they say [he goes] #1, if Joel hadn’t gotten injured, they say #1, and Jahlil, all year, was #1, so the [outlook] of the 2015-16 season is quite positive.”
Some players from the Philadelphia 76ers visited you last summer when you were playing with Croatia at the World Cup in Spain. How did that feel? Dario Saric: That meant so much to me. Three top players came to Spain to support me and support my team. The coach (Brett Brown) came too. It was a big thing for me that people from the team that selected me came to support me, that they had my back like that. It made playing easier for me and didn’t feel any additional pressure.
But once the June 25 draft is completed and free agency begins in July, the Sixers should have a pretty good idea what the 2015-16 roster will look like. At that point, talking to Brown would seem logical if he figures in the organization’s long-term plans and vice versa. Even a one-year extension would make sense. “We haven’t started any of those dialogues, but it’s certainly not out of the question, either,” Harris said on April 15. For his part, Brown said he hopes he “can deliver on the things that I have said.” “I will back myself and I feel that I will be fine.”
Coach Brett Brown said he “personally” would be disappointed if Joel Embiid didn’t play summer-league basketball. “Personally, I expect him to play in the summer league,” Brown said. “But if I guessed any of this wrong, I want to make sure that the club is on record not being definitive. We are not in the position to say that now.”
I spent a good deal of time talking with Hinkie. He is an engaging man with a dry sense of humor who will enthusiastically share the thinking behind his moves — just not on the record. Like an operative in Washington, he wants to be understood but not quoted.
The practice that morning went for more than three hours and was loud and boisterous. Brown had them play a three-on-three tournament — the winners got to watch as the losers went through a short conditioning drill. The losers in a five-on-five scrimmage did push-ups. The players whooped and hollered when their teams made a shot, and argued over foul calls like they were in a playground pickup game. It was a happy gym. If you just listened to the sounds, you would have thought the Sixers were a winning team. And, in a way, they were.
Writers sometimes ask Brown if he thinks the team will want a different kind of coach when it gets good. This question bothers him, because of its implication that he should worry. “I absolutely love coaching this team,” he said in one of our conversations, “but believe me, I’ll be fine no matter what happens.” He and his wife own a beach house in Australia between Melbourne and Adelaide, not far from his in-laws’ cattle ranch. There’s a pub, a deli and a gym. “We’ll end up there,” he said. “I love to fish. I’ll be very happy.”
Brown told me that, like every coach, he hates losing. Close losses keep him up at night. The team’s overall record bothers him less. “I knew what I was getting into when I left Disneyland,” he said, referring to his 12-year tenure as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, the defending champions and perennial winners. “What we’re doing here is we’re looking to become great. We’re trying to figure out how to build this thing, and it’s a process.”
Coach Brett Brown was not quite on board with the deal that sent away Carter-Williams, and that’s led to rumors of tension between Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie. Sources around the league, though, say such tension has been minimal, and that though Brown would like to start winning sooner rather than later, he understands Hinkie’s focus on the long term. Brown refused to take the job in 2013 without a four-year contract to ensure security as the losses piled up, and it appears he is not going anywhere for now.
Until then, expect the Brett Brown-led Sixers to play hard. It’s the only way they know how. “I love the direction that we’re heading in,” Noel said. “I love what Sam Hinkie is doing with our team: building through the draft, getting young guys and being very particular about the pieces that he brings into this organization. “I think this is going to be a very solid team in the next few years and we’re just going to continue to grow together.”
Jorge Sierra: Up to 41 different players have hit the court for the Sixers with Brett Brown as head coach. He got the job last season.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers coach Brett Brown on JaVale McGee aka @JaVale McGee: I think he’s great. He’s kind of maligned in some ways to me where, you know, people view him in a certain way. He’s been a great teammate. It’s not like I’m starting him. It’s not like I’m giving him 25 minutes. I can’t ask for anymore in regards to how he’s fit in, and how he’s just been extremely receptive and coachable. He’s been excellent. I can’t ask any more from him.
Brett Brown has his work cut out for the Sixers’ final 28 games. Two players who were in his regular rotation, Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels, are now part of someone else’s organization. The Sixers’ head coach must quickly make a group of 15 players a cohesive unit. “We have to concentrate on what we stand for, which is defense,” Brown said Saturday afternoon. “And we have to try and grow some level of comfort with our offense. I feel very naked on both sides of the ball right now. I don’t feel as organized as we were two weeks ago, which is fair enough.”
Isaiah Canaan arrived in Philadelphia Friday after the Sixers traded for him on Thursday. He did not play in the Sixers’ loss to Indiana that night, but he will play Sunday when they face the Magic in Orlando. “He will start,” Brett Brown said Saturday after practice. “He is our starting point guard. Welcome to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015. I am thrilled to do it. We will go with J. Rich (Jason Richardson) again and Robert [Covington] and Isaiah. If they can do anything, those three can shoot.”