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 broadcaster Marc Zumoff calls a day in the life of guy stuck at home

Sixers broadcaster Marc Zumoff calls a day in the life of guy stuck at home

The city of Philadelphia absolutely wishes we were currently watching the Sixers right now in the middle of a championship run.

Alas, live games are on hold for the time being, so there's a Marc Zumoff-sized void in our lives.

But given all of the extra free time broadcasters and media personalities have lately, Marc Farzetta was able to create the dream of longtime Sixers play-by-play man Zumoff calling his daily life at home.

"Farzetta rises from his slumber!" Zumoff begins as Farzetta gets out of bed. "Farzetta scoops, packs, and sips. Yes!" Zoo continues as Farzy makes his daily espresso.

Not only is Zoo doing the play-by-play, but he passed it over to his broadcast partners Alaa Abdelnaby and Serena Winters for the assist at one point.

The execution is as crisp as a Ben Simmons alley-oop to Joel Embiid. Hopefully we'll get plenty more Zoo, Alaa and Serena in our lives sometime soon.

Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

At 17 years old, Kobe Bryant was scrimmaging against professional athletes and Philadelphia college stars, about to embark on a 20-year NBA career.

He impressed in those scrimmages with his skill and bravado. But, according to Jerry Stackhouse, Bryant wasn’t big on passing. 

Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, spent the first two-plus years of his career with the Sixers before being traded to the Pistons and matched up with Bryant in those scrimmages.

What happened with Kobe was nobody really wanted to play with Kobe,” he said on The Woj Pod. “[Former La Salle star and NBA player] Lionel Simmons, you used to always see him pulling Kobe to the side, like, ‘Man, you gotta pass the ball! You gotta learn how to do this!' Because the older guys were from Philly. … These stories kind of take on a life of their own. And yes, Kobe had some good days scoring the ball, because he could handle it so well. But he had tunnel vision at that point. You had pickup games, sometimes he didn’t even get picked up. 

“But again, because he’s so been great since this, these stories go back of ‘Oh, he beat Stackhouse one-on-one.’ Come on, man. Me at 20 years old, can you imagine a 17-year-old beating me consistently? I’d have hurt him first, real talk. Just physically, that could never happen to me. Did we play one-on-one? Yes. Did he beat me, did he maybe win a game? Yes. Did he consistently beat Jerry Stackhouse at 20 years old when he was 17? Hell no. I’m putting an end to that story. … Was he super talented and everyone saw great potential in him? Yes, but those scenarios … of Kobe Bryant, they’re a little bit of a different story when you go talk to people that were actually in the gym. 

Stackhouse noted that it took a little time for Bryant to adjust to the NBA game, which is true. The Lower Merion High School graduate played only 15.5 minutes per game as a rookie. Of course, he went on to make 18 All-Star Games, win five NBA championships and become one of the best players of his era. 

Though Stackhouse wanted to set the record straight on those one-on-one games with Bryant, he was still amazed by his ability at such a young age.

“This kid was unbelievable,” he said. “Just his ball handling ability … he grew up, obviously, emulating Michael Jordan.”

However, the members of the Philadelphia basketball community who were in the gym for those scrimmages were apparently ruthless in their critiques.

“I vividly remember the old heads from Philadelphia,” Stackhouse said, “[they're] like, ‘Come on, man, you gotta pass the ball! That ain’t how you gotta play!’” 

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