The idea that Brett Brown should be fired was ludicrous on its face. The Sixers went from 28 to 52 wins this season and had the third-best defense in the NBA based on the foundation Brown had built over the years. He got guys to buy in, and players respond to him. Some fans in Philly vastly underestimated Boston as a team this postseason and thought the Sixers would romp. Instead, the Sixers looked like a young team, with their flaws — especially those of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid — exposed. It’s part of the learning process.
To be fair, Brad Stevens did get the best of Brown in the last round, but if the bar is “he has to be better than Stevens” 28 other NBA teams will be looking for a coach. Brown, like his players, deserves a chance to grow as he faces new situations.
Sixers management gets that. Previously, owner Joshua Harris had said he wants to keep Brett Brown around for a long time. On Friday after the team’s exit interviews with players, GM Bryan Colangelo talked about extending Brown’s contract, via Jessica Camerato at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I’ve spoken with Brett on a couple of occasions this year just to let him know that it’s my intention to sit down with him and discuss a contract extension for him,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Friday. “I don’t think it’s the healthiest of situations for coaches to go into a season with one year remaining on their contracts. It impacts so many aspects of what you’re doing.”
There is always concern for a coach’s job security when the GM gets replaced above him, and Brown was hired by Sam Hinkie. When Colangelo came in, there was a lot of speculation about Brown’s job, but for now he looks safe.
“I think everybody asked me when I first got here, ‘Are you going to give him the opportunity to coach?’” Colangelo said. “I said, ‘Absolutely. He deserves the opportunity to not only prove that he can coach better talent, but that he should have the opportunity to finish this job.’
“I think he’s taken a big step forward proving that as the talent increases, as the availability of his players is more consistent, and as he can adapt and manipulate that talent, he’s doing a very good job, which is once again why we’re going to be talking about a contract extension at the appropriate time.”
“Job security” and “NBA coach” are not phrases that should be used together without qualifiers. As good a job as Brett Brown does, he could get Mark Jacksoned at some point. However, that means the Sixers need to have their Steve Kerr in waiting, and those guys are few and far between — teams miss far more than they hit with those moves.
For now, Brown deserves to stay on.