He’s charming. His accent is borderline captivating. He was part of a dynasty with the Spurs. But is Brett Brown the coach to take the Sixers to the crest of the NBA’s elite?
He might have another season to figure it out. Letting him go now could be like changing Presidents during the height of a war. The team is mired in uncertainty and disarray with Ben Simmons rehabbing from knee surgery, and there are loud questions about fit with its top signings and acquisitions. Bringing in another voice to shift the tide in a truncated offseason could be imprudent. So what?
The Sixers aren’t in a position to take measured risks. The franchise is projected to pay the luxury tax. The roster construction around the team's young stars is suspect. And the longer Elton Brand stays connected to Brown’s diminishing playoff returns, his time in the catbird’s seat of a marquee general manager position will be short-lived. Time to roll the dice.
Brown is an A1 human being. His disposition and demeanor are like a cool uncle who is sincere and shoots you straight, but not without some sage advice to help you on your way. But winning postseason basketball games and NBA titles isn’t a referendum on bedside manner.
I do believe Brown is stern with the SIxers’ young nucleus when necessary. I also think he can coach. Although, the real question is, does his coaching style fit what the Sixers have?
Every coach struggles with motivation and inducing the best out of players over a long and trying NBA season. Sometimes your words can fall on deaf ears because players have heard it so often, or maybe they aren’t fearful of real consequences like losing playing time if they don’t execute the game plan properly. The point is, great coaches find ways to reinvent themselves or their message in order to break through the malaise of indifference. Brown’s not getting through enough to make the Sixers go from better to best, good to great.
Where do the Sixers go from here? The choices couldn’t be more vast. Look at the coaches who were once on the Sixers' bench that are now head coaches elsewhere. Brown has had many talented basketball minds in the fold. Lloyd Pierce is now leading the Hawks. Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni was here briefly. Former Sixers assistant Monty Williams led the Suns to an undefeated record in the Bubble.
The Sixers have Ime Udoka here now, and he’s reportedly a candidate for other jobs. Or maybe the time is finally “Wright” for a local coach on the Main Line to make the leap to the league.
Regardless, it’s become more and more clear that, even though The Process began with Brown, he likely won’t be here to see it end.