Kurt Helin

PBT Podcast: Sixers’ coach Brett Brown talks Joel Embiid, building a culture, job security

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Philadelphia’s ownership already was frustrated enough with the pace of its bad-to-get-good rebuild that the plan’s architect, Sam Hinkie, was pushed out the door and the reins of power were handed to the more conventional father/son team of Jerry Colangelo and Bryan Colangelo.

Does that mean coach Brett Brown is next on the chopping block?

Brown doesn’t feel that pressure.

In this podcast, Brown joins Kurt Helin of NBC to talk about taking the team to the Pentagon this week, about trying to build a team culture that can be sustained, how Joel Embiid and Dario Saric fit into that, and how Brown’s job security tie into all of that. It’s a good look into the efforts to turn the Sixers around.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Sixers’ coach Brett Brown untroubled about job security, sees unified vision with GM

Associated Press
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As part of our 51 Questions NBA season preview series, we tackled the question “Which coach is likely the first to get fired?”

Philadelphia’s Brett Brown’s name was at the top of the list (Dan Feldman and Dan Carbaugh picked him, where I mentioned him as a likely choice). He checks key boxes for a coach on the hot seat: The team will continue to lose a lot of games this season, and the current GM didn’t hire him.

Brown, however, doesn’t feel that heat.

“All my conversations with our owners and Jerry Colangelo and Bryan Colangelo, we’re all on the same page trying to do the same thing,” Brown told NBC Sports in an interview on Wednesday. “My contract was extended last year, where I have now three years left on my contract.

“I’m proud to coach this team, and I feel very strong and confident with the relationships, and the direction that I’m being given by the people that pay me. And I feel so aligned with Jerry and Bryan and what we’re trying to achieve. There is a vision we have in place.”

Brown did get that contract extension from ownership just before the Colangelos were handed power and Sam Hinkie pushed out the door — and if ownership likes something it stays. The extension gave Brown a sense of security, and it’s one he has earned — Brown has not been perfect as coach, but with the rosters he’s been given the last three seasons no coach was going to produce wins. Talent wins out in the NBA and what talent the Sixers have has either been injured or is just raw and needs to develop. A lot.

Has the shift in power to the Colangelos changed what Brown is doing things with the team? Do the goals change?

“They really haven’t,” Brown said. “I feel the partnership I have with our owners — with David Blitzer and Josh Harris — has been very transparent and clean from day one. We’ve sat and talked a lot about the direction we want to grow our program. You know, in many ways I feel like the steward of their business, the gatekeeper of our culture, how do we see the world? What are we trying to achieve?

“I think Bryan Colangelo has come in and has been tremendously helpful to me with many different things. We spitball ideas. We talk all the time about what’s the next step. But the basic core beliefs of what we’re trying to do with the growth of the program, how we want to get things done, and how we want to grow this at a very responsible rate, and what the end game needs to be, those core values have not changed.

“It’s a challenge no doubt, and the city of Philadelphia deserves a lot of credit, they have allowed us to move at the pace we are moving, and trying to form something that can be annually successful.”

This season should see more wins in Philly — rookies Joel Embiid and Dario Saric add to the talent pool (as does Ben Simmons whenever he returns from a foot injury), plus some stabilizing veterans were added to the roster. But don’t confuse this with a lot of wins, the Sixers are still going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA, one loaded with draft picks next June. It’s still a process of trying to establish a culture and develop young talent, then see how all the pieces fit together. That takes time (plus guys being healthy, something that hasn’t happened through the preseason).

Brown expects to be there for all of it, and beyond as this team starts to turn the corner in future years.

(Note, you can hear all of Brown’s thoughts on his job security, plus building a team culture, Embiid, Saric, and more in a PBT Podcast to drop later on Thursday.)

Suns’ Archie Goodwin throws down monster game-winning dunk

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Utah was in complete control of this game, up 30 at one point, before Phoenix started an impressive comeback.

One the Suns’ Archie Goodwin capped off by spinning free past Marcus Paige out high, getting into the lane and throwing down the game-winning dunk.

Goodwin had 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the 111-110 win, while Devin Booker had 20. Dante Exum had 18 points and looked impressive in his minutes for Utah.

PBT Extra: Can any team threaten Cleveland in the East?

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So long as LeBron James is not wearing some kind of cast, as long as he is physically upright and able to play, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any team in the East keeping Cleveland from another trip to the Finals. It’s boring but true.

But who else should we be watching in the East?

In this PBT Extra video, I talk about Boston and Toronto battling for the two seed, plus I see Detroit and Indiana as teams to keep an eye on sliding up the ladder in the conference. Just not as a threat to the Cavs. No team is.

Andrew Bogut on Kevin Durant move: “I think the deal was done long before the summer”

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When Kevin Durant started meeting with free agent suitors on July 1, was his mind already made up to head to Golden State?

Durant has said that was not the case. He was intrigued by what Golden State was doing, he liked their system, but he didn’t have his decision made. Not everybody believes him. To put it kindly.

Andrew Bogut — the center now in Dallas because Golden State needed to clear out cap space for Durant — is one of them, he thought the deal was lined up long before free agency began. He’s also not bitter. Here is what Bogut told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

That’s part of the business. I think the deal was done long before the summer. I think it was done — obviously, K.D. didn’t make his concrete decision, but I think our organization knew for a while what was going to happen. That’s just a part of it. Andre [Iguodala] and I knew it was one of us that was going to go, and it was me. That’s part of the business. I have no gripes about it. You get a Hall of Famer — he’s going to be a Hall of Famer — in K.D. If I’m the GM, I do the same deal. That’s just the reality of the business.

Whether the Warriors were sure it was going to happen or just thought it was a possibility, they were right to get everything lined up to make it happen should Durant make the call. If they don’t do the prep work, they will lose out.

As for Bogut, far more than fans players see things like Durant’s choice and the fallout from it as part of the NBA business. No hard feelings. He gets to make his decision. While others may not love the fallout of said decision, in Bogut’s case he’s still getting paid $11 million this year to play basketball. Things are not bad.