CAMDEN, N.J. — By now, you’ve surely seen the Instagram posts of the Sixers at the Super Bowl in Miami on Sunday. Perhaps you also saw Ben Simmons and Kendall Jenner sitting by a pool the following day.
Bless your heart if you saw all four quarters of the team’s dismal performance against the Heat the very next night … or any of their last three games for that matter.
There are those that have connected those dots to suggest perhaps the team wasn’t ready to play Monday night. Brett Brown was not here for any of that after practice Wednesday.
Coaches always want more, for sure. But to cite the examples that they went to the Super Bowl or they went outside and read a book or a newspaper and were outside. ... If you came up with better things than that, maybe I could talk to you a little bit better. And so truly, I don't see it like that. ... The two examples that you gave, I don't rate. So my real point is I don't see that. I don't see it. I see other things that are more realistic than that and so that's where my head is at. It's hoops stuff. It's X's and O's stuff. It's a fit thing, trying to get our guys to coexist and trying to deal with erratic injuries.
It's fair to point out that the Sixers were playing in Miami. It’s not like they went out of their way to go to the Super Bowl. It also seems sort of silly to criticize Simmons for sitting by a pool with his girlfriend, who happens to be famous and draws a lot of attention.
The Sixers have their issues, but it seems like they have way more to do with what’s going on on the court.
I'm worried about going to Milwaukee and feeling proud to coach the team, that we competed in a way that they usually do compete. We're the fourth-best defensive team in the NBA. That's where I'm at. I'm not young anymore, and I'm perfectly content speaking just like we speak. I see the world as I should see it and my job is to coach this team and to get them playing at a level that they're capable of, and remind them of that always and remind them of that when they're not.
This team has been awful over the last three games. They lost to a 13-win team to start their road trip then got their doors blown off in Boston and Miami. When that happens, people naturally start questioning coaching.
There were examples in the Heat game of poor body language — a butt whooping will do that — which led to questions Wednesday about whether Brown feels like his team has stopped listening to him.
I understand that. And you’d be better off asking them. When you speak to them, speak freely. And I understand the question. I walk and I know — I’m not naive enough to not understand why you’ve asked what you’ve asked. But I’ve answered it the way I’ve answered it. I look forward to coaching them. When it gets to an epidemic stage with this thing you’re talking about, I’ll admit that. I don’t at all right now.
None of this gets any easier for the Sixers Thursday as they take on the NBA’s best team. Until they start winning, the questions aren’t going to stop.
But at least there won't be any questions of focus in a place like Milwaukee.
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