With precious little time before the trade deadline Thursday, Brett Brown provided one of the most informative pregame pressers of the season.
Less than two hours before opening tip against the Raptors, the Sixers’ head coach had plenty to say about his involvement in trade discussions, the Corey Brewer situation and his team as a whole.
Here are a few highlights from the session.
Working with Elton Brand before the deadline
Before Elton Brand took over as the team’s GM, the Sixers had a sort of front office collective with Brown acting the interim president of basketball operations.
It appears Brown’s input — though scaled down from the offseason so he can actually coach — is still valued and very much heard.
“I don’t remember many days where I don’t speak to Elton once or twice,” Brown said. “There’s not many scenarios that I believe are going to surprise us. My voice, my words my recommendation are always welcomed by Elton. It’s a partnership.”
“I think [Brand] has the whole package. I really think that he has a chance to be great.”
With the deadline on Thursday, Brand and the Sixers’ brass traveled with the team during its West Coast swing. Brown said they were “bunkered down” and preparing for any scenario that could occur.
While they’re doing their due diligence, there is no guarantee the team makes a move.
“Right now there are things going on as far as communication go with a lot of teams,” Brown said. “Anything that shakes out, I don’t know. I would not be telling the truth if you say something is incredibly imminent. Unless I don’t know something. And by and large Elton does his job and when things come up that I do need to know, he advises me. As it sits, there is no conversation that we’ve had about anything imminent.”
What the team is targeting
We’ve written a lot on this site about positions the Sixers should target — whether it be perimeter players or big men. Even Brown has mentioned in the past his desire to add a perimeter defender.
On Tuesday, Brown’s mindset sort of changed. He’s not looking at a particular position, but rather a player with certain traits.
“When you fast forward out you say, ‘What wins in the playoffs?’ It’s [toughness], it’s can you switch and it’s can you make a three. That’s how I see it. That’s modern day NBA basketball. So do we need this? Do we need that? I don’t know. I mean I do know, but I think the species, the flavor, it’s always ‘best player available.’ I don’t know what the trades are going to produce. To think you could just go into the supermarket and choose what you want doesn’t happen. That doesn’t happen so you deal with it. But when you talk about qualities, that’s what most comes to my mind.”
The Corey Brewer situation
Corey Brewer became a cult hero for Sixers fans during his two 10-day contracts. The man that went from playing superheroes with his kids to guarding James Harden is now available for any team to pick up.
The reason is flexibility. With the trade deadline so close, Brand and company wanted to keep their options open. It’s possible that no other team signs Brewer for the same reason.
Though Brown didn’t give the veteran wing a ton of run in his last two games, he still hoped that Brewer would find his way back to the Sixers.
“To not have him … you wish you did. But because of the period of time with trade deadlines coming up to lock down spots or money or whatever is not smart on the front office’s part. It doesn’t dismiss the fact that we may see him soon. He may be back in our locker room not too far away. But at this particular moment I understand why that decision was made and more importantly so does he.”
“I’d love to see him again. He’s just something that is easy and trusted and respected. He can handle not playing. You can put him in a game and say go stick some wing offensive player. He was fantastic.”
Well, here’s another non-update update on Markelle Fultz: Brown said he’s hoping to be “surprised” and that Fultz will be able to contribute in the playoffs. Since Fultz hasn’t even resumed basketball activities yet, it does seem ambitious to think he could contribute come April.
There was disappointing news for two-way player Shake Milton. The rookie broke one of his fingers on Tuesday in the Blue Coats’ loss earlier in the day and will be “out for awhile.” The time couldn’t be worse for Milton, who has shown promise and earned minutes while veteran Wilson Chandler is out.
Brown was asked about Justin Patton, who saw his first action of the season during the game in Delaware. You got the sense that Brown has low expectations for Patton for this season since it’s already more than halfway over, but was complimentary of the young big man’s skill set.
On if the team stands pat at the deadline
Brown has been through “the process.” If he has to go into the playoffs with rookies like Landry Shamet and Jonah Bolden — he heaped praised on both young guys — he’ll be ready.
“I think we all understand that we’re here to try to make a deep run in the playoffs. To do that, you all understand, you need depth. By and large, depth in May sure helps when it’s experienced depth. If that doesn’t play out with trades that could happen and we are left with the team that we have, you know what I’ll say and I mean it: ‘Off we go.’ I’ll coach what we have and we’re going to try to make it work.”
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