Losing streaks tend to lead to finger-pointing. For the Sixers, more than a few fingers are being directed at the head coach.
Brett Brown is squarely on the hot seat in Philadelphia as the Sixers continue to plummet down the basketball food chain. Once thought to be the odds-on favorites to at least get to the NBA Finals, the team sits sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. All-Star guard Ben Simmons called the Sixers “soft” following Monday’s humiliating 137-106 loss in Miami.
On Tuesday, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith reluctantly took aim at Brown for not maximizing the talent he has to work with. Smith prefaced his comments by saying that he doesn’t want Brown fired and believes the long-time Spurs assistant is a “good man.” That being said, Brown has to be held accountable for the underperforming Sixers.
“It hurts me to say this but I’m going to say it. The problem is their coach, Brett Brown,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” show. “I think he’s a good coach but he’ll never be accused of being a great coach. This team is underachieving and I’m putting right at his doorsteps. I got news, I hope that Brett Brown is listening to this: you are not the San Antonio Spurs.”
Smith was referring to Brown’s tenure both in basketball operations and on the bench as an assistant coach in San Antonio. The Spurs, much like the New England Patriots in the NFL, have a system that guides everything they do. It’s not working in Philadelphia and Brown’s refusal to adapt to his personnel may be costing the Sixers wins.
“Here’s where I’m holding Brett Brown accountable,” Smith continued. “Who gets better under you? At the end of the day, if you’re a coach, that’s the ultimate question.”
Brown Coaching with ‘Blinkers On’ at Trade Deadline
As trade rumors continue to circle around the Sixers, Brett Brown has chosen to block out distractions. He really doesn’t have any other choice. Whether the Sixers make a move on or before Thursday’s trade deadline is irrelevant. The Sixers have to play better and it starts by coaching the players on the roster.
The Sixers won’t even take the court until 8 p.m. on Thursday, or five hours after the deadline has passed. Brown has to have his guys ready to play ball against the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks.
“You just try to coach with blinkers on,” Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You are aware, but you just have to coach what you have. And you have to let the front office do what a front office does, and somewhere in the middle, they are my players. You coach them. There’s a human side. That’s all true.”
Philadelphia has been heavily linked to numerous players, including Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, Andre Iguodala, Robert Covington and Danilo Gallinari. There was even one crazy report that listed Chris Paul as an outside possibility. No matter they do at the deadline, it’ll be up to Brown to get them back on the straight and narrow.