Despite leaving the Eastern Conference last July, former Sixers sharpshooter JJ Redick kept tabs on his old team's weird rollercoaster of a season. And he has thoughts about what did, and didn't, cause the Sixers' frustrations.
Appearing on the Sixers Beat podcast Friday, Redick talked fondly about his time in Philly, even noting that he wanted to return this season and ultimately finish his career in Philly.
But he also provided some helpful perspective on Sixers coach Brett Brown, who was often a punching bag this year for fans expecting more out of a talent-laden roster. Where some see Brown as unable to coax consistent greatness out of his team, Redick said he thinks Brown is "one of the best" coaches he's played for, and didn't see Brown as the reason for the Sixers' disappointing results this season:
We're all aware of [the criticism of Brown], right? I know there's some level of - I don't know what the word is - maybe animosity? And displeasure? It's always easy to blame certain people, but I would love to play for Brett again. I don't think Brett is the problem, if there's a problem. Sometimes things just don't work.
You can dissect this season with Philly however you want, and you can probably go in a lot of different ways with that.
That feels more like a comment on the team's construction, which Redick also alluded to in a separate comment earlier in the podcast.
Redick said he wanted to return this year, but felt like general manager Elton Brand and the Sixers' decision makers had a vision of a bigger team, one that could compete with the large wings and frontcourts of the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors:
I got the sense that they wanted to be bigger. And I also - when they made the moves, Joel stayed at the 5, and Ben at the 1, but then everyone across the board went down a position, right? Al went from the 5 to the 4, Tobias 4 to 3, Josh 3 to 2. It was sort of inevitable that they would have what I would call an uneven regular season.
It's extremely interesting to hear this from a former Sixers player, who is still in the league and ostensibly has his pulse on the league, because it largely falls in line with the two main complaints about the 2019-20 Sixers: either the problem is Brown's coaching, or Brand's roster construction.
While Redick says he understands what Brand was trying to accomplish, by trying to build a team that could beat the perceived best teams in the East, it certainly seems he thinks the odd construction of their starting five hurt the Sixers a lot more than Brown's coaching.
Just something to think about while we all sit, basketball-less, and ponder the Sixers' future.
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