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Larry Brown on Sixers tanking/rebuilding: “It makes me sick”

Larry Brown

Larry Brown


Larry Brown is the coach that got a Philadelphia team playing good defense and turning Allen Inversion loose all the way to the NBA Finals. He’s won almost everywhere he’s coached — he’s the one guy who has won an NBA and NCAA title (2004 Pistons, 1988 Kansas Jayhawks).

And he’s no fan of what is happening in Philadelphia now. At all. The Philadelphia Inquirer asked Brown about the tanking Sixers trying to rebuild through the draft by being terrible in the short-term, and let’s just say Brown isn’t on board.

“I hate what’s going on in Philly,” the Hall of Fame coach said Wednesday. “They don’t have a basketball person in the organization. It makes me sick to my stomach….

“No, I wouldn’t do it. We wouldn’t lose. Brett (Brown, Sixers head coach) can coach, he’s one of Pop’s guys,” Brown said, referring to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “But what they are doing to that city to me is mind-boggling. That’s the greatest basketball city in the world with its fans and you want them to sit back and watch you lose.”

Sixers CEO Sam Harris fired back at Brown, now the coach at SMU in Dallas, via

“You know, after seeing Larry Brown’s SMU team in the Final Four this year it was tough to hear those kind of comments,” O’Neil said on the radio show. “Was he in the Final Four this year?…

“How are they doing? How are they gonna be this year?” O’Neil said. “Nah, you know, I think it’s hard for people not in the market to understand what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. I think the good thing about Philadelphia is that the fans certainly get it.”

Actually, SMU was going to be very interesting with Emmanuel Muddily at the point — DraftExpress has him as the No. 2 pick in the next draft, he’s in everyone’s top three — but Muddily decided to get paid and after committing to SMU changed his mind and is playing for Guangdong in China. The Mustangs are still a good team.

Brown was willing to play the back-and-forth game and said this about O’Neill, again from

“Well, ask Scott where SMU was when I took the job. We were 315th and two years later, we’re a top-25 team. And who is Scott O’Neil by the way? I mean, what is his basketball background? And he ought to look at how I care about the team rather than criticize my job and what I’ve done.”

O’Neill, this is not a good fight to pick. Walk away.

Brown — and other NBA owners, and some fans around the league — may not like what the Sixers are doing, but the financial and basketball realities of the NBA make it a viable strategy. You need talent and if you’re not the Lakers or the Knicks the only way you get talent is the draft. The Sixers have taken the strategy to an extreme, but they are within the rules and thinking long-term.

Come 2018, there are going to be a lot of fans jumping on the Sixers bandwagon as all these players mature and start to form a very interesting core. Brown might even be one of them.