CAMDEN, N.J. — After dropping Game 1, a convincing Game 2 win over Brooklyn seemed to restore order for the Sixers.
Then a scathing article was published Tuesday night, saying that Brett Brown has lost his locker room.
If you want to read the whole story, you can do so. If you’d rather not, here’s a quick recap.
The story alleges that Brown lost his locker room after the Jimmy Butler trade. It talks about an incident involving Joel Embiid and former Sixer and Spur Bruce Bowen after Brown had brought Bowen in to address the team.
It also claims that GM Elton Brand approached ownership about possibly trading Ben Simmons ahead of the deadline. The biggest accusation is that Simmons missed a game in Orlando because he was partying the night before. He was listed as out with a stomach virus in the team’s loss to the Magic.
“I am aware of it. I have not read it and I won’t,” Brown said at the team’s practice facility Wednesday. “I have nothing to say about it.”
Some of the aspects have already been refuted. The alleged incident with Bowen supposedly happened in Portland, but Bowen did not address the team in Portland. It happened in San Antonio, and from the description of the Inquirer's Keith Pompey, it was much ado about nothing. The story also initially said Simmons was in Miami with his girlfriend, Kendall Jenner, but the publication already listed a correction on that, saying Simmons was actually in Orlando with no mention of Jenner.
It was also odd that it mentioned Simmons’ biggest issue with his shot is his refusal to bend his knees. If you’ve watched Simmons through his young career, you know that’s not the most glaring flaw. Simmons’ left elbow flares out on every shot, causing an odd rotation to the ball, leading to the conspiracy theory that he may be right-handed.
Simmons didn’t deny the report, but didn’t want to spend time addressing it.
“Are you talking about the regular season?” Simmons asked the reporter. “OK, no, we’re talking about playoffs, man. Unless you want to talk about something else, somewhere else, but it’s playoffs right now.”
As he walked away from his availability, he did add one more thing.
“It was me, Brett and Monty [Williams] partying.”
Sounds like a good time.
Another thing that seems odd is the timing. This story dropped two days after the team destroyed the Nets in Game 2. Who did the players credit for the team’s turnaround that led to a record-setting 51-point third quarter?
Their coach for chewing them out in the locker room at halftime.
“He expressed it. He called me out a few times where I messed up on plays and yelled at me,” Simmons said. “I love to see that side of him because it motivates me and gives me that energy. It’s great to see that side from Coach.”
Brown downplayed the impact and passed the credit on to his players.
“I think it’s one of the great myths of coaching to think that that’s what coaches do,” Brown said. “You’ve got about so many bullets a year. People that have been around NBA basketball understand that simply. It’s true. You pick and you choose your moments. It wasn’t anything, in my view, that dramatic …
“I think the thing I like most about this group is that they do let me coach them. There’s a togetherness and a locker room respect for one another that I appreciate.”
Several players — most notably the aforementioned Butler — talked about how much they enjoyed seeing that side of Brown. Evidently, it’s not a side he shows often.
But that’s a big part of why it had such an impact. The players knew their coach was not happy. Because he picks and chooses when to use his “bullets,” they have a legitimate effect.
“Well, you want it to be authentic, too,” JJ Redick said. “That was the big difference for us, seeing that it was legitimate frustration and anger. Anybody can come in and scream and act like they’re mad, but Brett is an authentic guy. It was great to see him in that mode.”
Yeah, seems like we have a real mutiny on our hands.
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