Brett Brown proving he has a handle on Sixers interim general manager job

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Brett Brown proving he has a handle on Sixers interim general manager job

Thanks to television and the world wide web, you’ve heard of all the different things you can do in exactly one month.

Go from out of shape to toned abs? Check.

Being in debt to a perfect credit score? You bet.

The list goes on and on.

What there isn’t a guide for is taking over the front office operations of an NBA team entering arguably its most important offseason in franchise history. Still, somehow Brett Brown has taken on the added responsibility and managed to keep the Sixers in prime position to achieve their goals.

Just 28 days ago — and only a week after agreeing to a multi-year contract extension as Sixers head coach — Brown was thrust into the role of interim general manager after Bryan Colangelo’s well-documented resignation.

“My role is one of trying to provide the best leadership that I can and show faith and support and have fun with this and move this program forward with them over the next month, month and a half,” Brown said on June 7. “The free-agent market, the draft, keeping our current players on track with their development plans and keeping in touch with them, those are the things that will rule my day, will rule our day. 

“In regards to my role in all of this, it’s simply to provide a level of leadership with people that I trust and respect and do the best that I can while I’m here moving us forward.”

More than anything, Brown is a man of his word and he’s proven that in his performance as interim GM this offseason.

He landed players in the draft that fit the position-less mold of basketball and selfless team culture the Sixers are attempting to build upon, all while also securing a key unprotected first-round pick in 2021.

Brown said the Sixers were going “star hunting” this summer and that’s exactly what they did. Despite whiffing on the top tier of free agents, the team still managed to secure a meeting with LeBron James’ agent, were reportedly in the mix for Paul George and have continued to pursue a trade for Kawhi Leonard.

When those options dried up, the Sixers moved swiftly to bring back their own players in JJ Redick and Amir Johnson. The biggest factor being that it came at a significant discount from the 2017-18 season (roughly $15 million next season compared to $34 million last season). That locks in the squad’s second-leading scorer and primary backup big man for another run with the young core.

Then when their prime bench options in Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were lured away in free agency, Brown’s Sixers acquired Wilson Chandler from the Denver Nuggets and reached a deal with Nemanja Bjelica. The Chandler move addressed the scoring pop that Belinelli provided and a need for a quality wing defender off the bench. Meanwhile, Bjelica is guaranteed to take on the stretch four duties of Ilyasova after shooting 41.5 percent from long range last season.

All of those decisions were certainly run past Brown in some way, as he made sure the Sixers will be at least at the level of the breakout 2017-18 campaign and perhaps even better. But more importantly, none of the transactions are for more than a year, so the organization will have ample salary cap space yet again next summer to potentially set its sights on the likes of Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson.

Not bad for a guy during his first month on the job.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

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Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

On the Sixers Talk podcast, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss how great James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle have been off the bench, Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke's comments about Joel Embiid and more.

• What to make of Matisse Thybulle's role so far this season.

• How good has James Ennis been early on this season?

• Brett Brown made light of Dan Burke's comments. Is there anything to look into there?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — James Ennis came over to his media availability after practice Tuesday with a little extra pep in his step.

And why not?

He’s playing arguably the best basketball of his NBA career and doing so for a team that wants to compete for an NBA title. Ennis has been on a torrid shooting pace, hitting 50 percent of his threes (17 of 34) over the last 11 games.

“So I'm considered a ‘hot guy’ now,” Ennis said, “so a lot of guys are flying at me, so I have to put the ball on the ground and I can definitely get to the lane a lot easier now.”

The term “hot guy” is what you think: Opposing teams will have him on the scouting report as a player they need to keep tabs on beyond the arc. That’s led to Ennis’ defenders having more aggressive and, at times, reckless closeouts, opening things up for him to drive.

It’s a label Ennis is clearly enjoying.

“Definitely. I want to be known as a ‘hot guy,’ [that's why] I wanna knock down shots,” Ennis said. “I can get people with my shot fake now, 'cause I'm a ‘hot guy.’”

This is a man simply oozing with confidence right now.

It hasn’t always been easy for Ennis in his professional basketball career. After being drafted in the second round by the Hawks in the 2013 NBA draft, his rights were traded to the Heat. Ennis decided instead to play overseas in Australia. After a stint in Puerto Rico, Ennis joined Miami and began his NBA journey.

The bouncing around continued as Ennis had stops in Memphis, New Orleans, Memphis (again), Detroit and Houston before landing in Philly. After coming over at the trade deadline from the Rockets, Ennis was a big part of the Sixers’ rotation into the postseason. There was clearly a mutual interest in bringing Ennis back this offseason.

His head coach, who knows plenty about basketball in Australia, was asked if he’s seen a swagger to Ennis lately.

“It seems so. I guess there is. And good for him,” Brett Brown said. “He's a great story. We all kind of follow his career and he too, has an Australian experience in Perth, a great part of Australia on the Indian Ocean, sort of all on the western side of the country all by itself. And he's come from sort of hidden with Miami and then went overseas and had a taste with Houston. And now here he is with us and he's having a hell of a year, and he has been shooting the ball well, and I think he's been playing pretty good defense.”

At one point in Monday night’s win over the Jazz, Ennis nailed a three on the wing and was also fouled. Much to the delight of the crowd, Ennis began doing pushups. 

Is that a new celebration?

“I did them back in Australia, but it was nothing,” Ennis said. “I just did it because it was an and-one. I just wanted to show my strength a little bit.”

Unfortunately, Ennis missed the ensuing free throw. He admitted he may have been a little too amped from his on-court workout.

“I did miss, long. So I think it did affect me a little bit, so I probably won't be doing no pushups before my free throws next time.”

Brown was jokingly asked if Ennis would face any discipline for the pushup celebration.

“I’ll have to think about it,” Brown said.

It would probably take a lot more than that to bring this "hot guy" down right now.

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