Brett Brown doesn’t have a lot to work with as coach of the Sixers this year. That is by design, new coach Sam Hinkie has taken the “get good by getting bad” strategy and they are all in for this year’s lottery.
So what is Brett Brown going to try to do with this first year as coach.
Build a winning foundation. He’s taking a page from the NFL philosophy of trying to put players in positions to play to their strengths rather than put the square peg in the round hold, he told Dei Lynam at CSNPhilly.com.
For example, while the NBA trend is more three pointers don’t expect that in Philly because they don’t have the guys to knock those down (not Evan Turner or Thaddeus Young).
“I don’t have the analytic bug,” Brown said. “I listen to it but it does not consume me. We have players who traditionally have taken two-point shots like Evan, Lavoy [Allen] and Thad.
“Evan’s future is going to be developing his perimeter game,” Brown continued. “But he can shoot the mid-range shot. He is strong and he can get to the basket. That is tough to guard.”
The other focus is player development. The Sixers are not going to have a traditional lead assistant, what they will have is an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator and guys who are all about developing talent — a more NFL, compartmentalized style, Brown said.
“I won’t have a lead assistant coach,” Brown explained. “One guy will pay attention to offense, another to defense and then Lloyd (Pierce) is like my free safety. There will also be two coaches with development roles.”
“I used this philosophy when coaching in the Olympics in London and it works for me,” Brown added, referring to his 2012 experience coaching the Australian national team.
All you can ask of Brown and the Sixers this year is effort and development — build a foundation with what you have. Then wait for the front office to get you the talent.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.
The Houston Rockets are still searching for a head coach — with Jeff Van Gundy believed to be their top target — but it won’t be J.B. Bickerstaff, who has served as the team’s interim coach since they fired Kevin McHale in November. According to The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bickerstaff has informed Rockets management that he’s no longer in consideration for the job:
After a meeting with ownership and the front office on Tuesday, Houston Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has informed team officials that he’s no longer a candidate for the head-coaching job, league sources told The Vertical.
Other NBA teams have started reaching out to Bickerstaff about lead assistant coaching positions, and that’s where he’s transitioned his focus, league sources said.
After the Rockets’ disappointing season and disastrous playoff performance — where they lost in five not-very-competitive games to a Stephen Curry-less Warriors —it makes sense that Bickerstaff would rather get a fresh start as an assistant somewhere else, where he could build up his credentials and be a more highly sought-after head coaching candidate in the future. He isn’t a big name, so he likely wouldn’t be able to command as much money as the Rockets’ head coach as a more established figure would be. Given the Rockets’ uncertain future with Dwight Howard almost certain to opt out and not a lot of long-term pieces around James Harden, it’s not the most stable job in the world.