In Defense of Brett Brown and His Contract Extension
If conspiracy theories and rumors are to be believed, the NBA is doing anything it can to jettison the Sam Hinkie regime out of Philadelphia, as the city's beloved 76ers were seemingly coerced into hiring of four time NBA Executive of the Year Jerry Colangelo into a front office position.
However, head coach Brett Brown appears to a survivor of the potential Great Sixers Purge.
The team announced that Brown would be signing a two year extension, which ensures he'll remain with the team through the 2017-18 season. Management announcned the decision on Friday, shortly before another Philadelphia loss, this one coming in a 107-95 decision against the Detroit Pistons.
Brown's third season with the team is currently in progress, of which there has been little in Philadelphia's rebuilding process. The 76ers are currently buried in the basement of the Eastern Conference at 1-23, with the Detroit loss extending an active losing streak to five. Brown's record through 3-plus seasons currently stands at 38-150. Brown went 19-63 in his first season, before dropping to 18-64 last year.
The naked eye understandably protests the extending of Brown. Failing to crack 20 wins in either of your first two seasons doesn't bode well for a coach in any sport (OK, maybe in football you can get away with it), and if things carry on the way they're going in Philly this year, the Sixers could end up in the same sentence as the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (7-59 in a lockout shortened year) or their own 1972-73 incarnation (9-73), the two worst teams in NBA history.
However, consider what Brown has had to work with during his time in Philadelphia. It's not like the Sixers are peddling out Allen Iverson and Andre Iguodala out there every night anymore. Instead, Brown's night is like an anthology television series, like Fargo or True Detective, in that he's constantly looking at a new team every night, not knowing who'll be suiting up for his Sixers. The rebuilding process, which began shortly after the team's surprise trip to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2012, has seen countless players dress for the Sixers, with pieces constantly coming in and out. Perhaps the most jarring move was the trade of Michael Carter-Williams, the 2014 Rookie of the Year, to Milwaukee. Top tier rookies brought in to pick up the slack, like Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid have been sidelined with injuries, leaving the Sixers to clog the gaps shoddily with 2nd round pick cast-offs and undrafted free agents.
In addition, Brown has the championship pedigree necessary to guide a well-built team to a title. Before joining the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant, Brown led the North Melbourne Tigers to a championship in the NBL, the top Australian basketball league. Brown took the skills he learned Down Under and brought them to Texas when he was hired as the Spurs' director of player development. Brown has credited by general manager RC Buford as curating the Spurs' bench, which has become one of the deadliest assets during their dynasty run. In addition, Gregg Poppovich has called Brown one of his best friends....anyone who can break the stone cold heart of Pop has to be worth something, right?
So cheer up, Sixers fans. Things are probably going to get a little worse before they get better. But under Brett Brown, things can improve. Never forget how the guy began his tenure in Philly. The Sixers began the year 3-0, which included an exciting win over the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Just remember the words of Harvey Dent....the dawn is coming.*
*-Just try to forget what eventually became of Harvey Dent.
Geoff Magliocchetti misses the days when Iverson, at the very least, made the Sixers, watchable. Reminisce about them on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.
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