76ers

Brett Brown is right coach for Sixers, city of Philadelphia right now

Brett Brown is right coach for Sixers, city of Philadelphia right now

A lot has changed in six years. 

When Brett Brown was hired as the Sixers' head coach, the Doug Collins era had just ended, Sam Hinkie was about to perform a massive roster overhaul and the team practiced at an embarrassing facility unfit for an NBA team. 

Brown didn't exactly inherit a dream job. He inherited one that was perfect for him. 

Since then, the Sixers opened a beautiful waterfront practice facility to go along with a roster chock full of superstars. With that has come a sharp uptick in expectations and a tremendous amount of pressure on the head coach.

Brown gets all that. It's part of the gig. He has thick enough of skin to handle it. 

Though a nice chunk of the fan base will disagree, Brown is the right coach for Philadelphia.

We all love drama here in Philly. There's a reason the backup quarterback is everyone's favorite player and the coach is to blame for all of the team's shortcomings.

Brown also gets it.

"This is my sixth year in Philadelphia. I have been fired every one of these years," Brown said. "It's Philadelphia. Every single one of these years, somebody has me not coming back. And it will happen again next year, early. So this is just the way it works in my industry, in this city."

Yeah, nailed it.

The guy just won 50 games in back-to-back seasons. That hasn't happened for this franchise since 1986. The Sixers advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season. That hasn't happened since 2001. That was also the last time they advanced to the conference finals.

Brown is likely not the next Gregg Popovich, but who the hell is? Which current NBA coach would you look at and say, "That team wins because they have a great coach?" Obviously the Bucks improved greatly after Mike Budenholzer took over, but he also has an actual freak on his team. Glenn Rivers also did a tremendous job with the Clippers this season, so that makes maybe … three?

But what are you looking for if you want to move on from Brown? Jay Wright? Wright has a pretty fantastic gig and has done a fantastic job at Villanova. Given the success rate of college coaches in the NBA, you expect Wright to lead a team to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first season with no NBA experience?

You have to be realistic. Brown may or may not be the guy who's going to lead the Sixers to a championship, but you have to have a better option if you're ready to move on. Otherwise, you're just making a change for the sake of change.

And that's a dangerous proposition. Brown has been the only stabilizing force in this organization. The team is on its third GM – fourth if you include Brown's three-month stint – and has dealt with its fair share of turmoil and roster turnover. Brown has survived and built something that he can be proud of.

"How many programs in the NBA can feel like we have a chance at annual success?" Brown said. "It's still, as I look in the rearview mirror, the thing that San Antonio should get the most credit for. They don't go away. And so here we are with a 22-year-old All-Star and a 25-year-old All-Star, and people that want to be here. ... To me, it's like what are we missing? We have everything that we need to move this program forward. … We're proud of the fights that we've had to fight in order to do what we've done. Culture is a word that means something to me. It means something to us. And I believe that we've delivered."

Tuesday's press conference may have been the most impassioned and demonstrative we've seen Brown during his tenure with the Sixers. It's another reason he makes so much sense for this city. Nobody will ever question whether he cares. He's fought for his job and for his players.

Brown looked toward the window, motioning across the Delaware River at the city of Philadelphia from the team's state-of-the-art, 125,000-square-foot facility on several occasions. He's ingrained here and so is his culture.

"If you can sort of live by a principle, if you can help others, invariably you're probably going to help yourself," Brown said. "And that grossly abused word 'culture' has been achieved here. None of us could deny that. You can challenge it on different fronts, but in general, this is a hell of a destination. People are treated well here. Forget my words, listen to the players. And so for us to be able to retain, recruit, grow, empower, watch this program unfold -- are you serious?"

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Pelicans' JJ Redick admits he was pleasantly surprised by first year with Sixers

Pelicans' JJ Redick admits he was pleasantly surprised by first year with Sixers

It's an interesting time for former Sixers sharpshooter JJ Redick. 

When he's not becoming a meme in the NBA bubble, Redick is expanding his side gig as a podcasting professional, and trying to keep his career-long NBA playoff streak alive.

In an appearance this week on Pardon My Take, Redick was asked about trying to keep that playoff streak alive as the Pelicans claw for a spot in the Western Conference's loaded postseason field. He knew going to a team like New Orleans, young and very clearly building for the future, might put his annual trip to the postseason in jeopardy, right?

Redick admitted he knew nothing was guaranteed, but he said that gambling with the streak really started when he signed a one-year deal with the Sixers in 2017.

And then... he just kept winning:

The first six or seven years, it's just normal. Then you get later on in your career, and you're like, 'Oh, I kind of want this streak to stay alive for my whole career.' But the funny thing is, when I went to Philly, I went to Philly to take the one-year bag, we all know that. But when I went to Philly, I ... expected us to make the playoffs, because I actually thought that team was built really well, with Joel and Ben, but there was really no guarantee that would happen.

We all think about the Embiid-Simmons era as synonymous with playoff contention, but it's easy to forget they were a sub-.500 team into the New Year in 2017p! Then they got hot in the spring, sprinted into the playoffs, reached the second round, and it was a whole new world for everyone involved.

Including Redick, who suddenly found himself on a perennial Eastern Conference contender and decided to re-up for the 2018-19 season, where the Sixers nearly beat the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in the second round.

The Pelicans are 2.5 games back of the 8-seed Memphis Grizzlies heading into Wednesday's slate of games, not an insurmountable mountain but definitely a bit of a stretch. 

And Redick probably won't regret securing another bag down in New Orleans - he's making $13.4 million this year - but if the Pelicans can't secure the berth, he might find himself sitting at home one night thinking about what could've been if he'd returned to that surprising Sixers squad for one more go 'round.

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Allen Iverson's take on the LeBron-Jordan debate isn't as controversial as you think

Allen Iverson's take on the LeBron-Jordan debate isn't as controversial as you think

Thanks to ESPN airing "The Last Dance" this summer, every basketball fan in the world is dusting off their favorite Michael Jordan memory.

And, because sports fans are nothing if not constantly combative, those stories are being used to try and keep LeBron James down. It's just how the Jordan-LeBron argument goes these days.

On Tuesday, Sixers legend Allen Iverson - someone who faced both James and Jordan - briefly touched on the neverending debate, and accidentally set the internet on fire.

And, as is often the case, Iverson didn't get a fair deal.

Iverson appeared on Fat Joe's Instagram Live show Tuesday, where Iverson and Joe talked for more than 70 minutes. But one clip was shared all over, in which Iverson touched on how he feels about Jordan and James: 

Sounds pretty juicy, right? One of the league's biggest icons possibly endorsing James over Jordan?

If you go back to the 1:03:30 mark of the talk, however, you'll see this isn't what happened. Because here's the full quote:

I'm not gonna fight what's the best. I'm not gonna fight. Like, much as I love Michael Jordan, dog, LeBron James is the one, dog. He the one. That m**********r is the one. Kevin Durant is the one, man. The one. He's like that. 

And the lead-in to that comment from Iverson? He was talking about appreciating Michael Jackson's music, saying he'd listen to Jackson's songs before games. He was talking about being a fan of what's great, and being able to appreciate current greatness while also appreciating previous greatness.

Frankly, it's a great way to approach the Jordan-LeBron debate! A nuanced take from a very nuanced guy. Michael Jordan was amazing. LeBron James is amazing. You can appreciate both, and more people should try to view them separately instead of qualifying their accomplishments against each other.

So let's just appreciate Iverson's take for what it is, instead of creating bonus arguments where they don't exist.

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