Sixers fans have had the pitchforks and torches out for Brett Brown for a long time now.
Thing is, he’s done a good job this season. The mode shifted instantly from development to “win now” with the addition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris (costing the team’s assets), but those changes — combined with injuries/load management that forced vital players out of the lineup (we’re looking at you, Joel Embiid) — made chemistry a challenge. Still, Philadelphia, with a shallow roster, is in a Game 7 with a Toronto team many picked to come out of the East. They are in that deciding game in part because Brown has been the better coach in this series.
None of that may matter to Philly GM Elton Brand, who did not hire Brown. Marc Stein of the New York Times has this report:
Beyond the uncertain fates of Butler, Harris and the sharpshooting J.J. Redick [all free agents this July], rumblings in league coaching circles have grown louder by the day that 76ers Coach Brett Brown needs an N.B.A. finals berth to keep his job. Brown, I’m told, has little chance of surviving a second-round exit.
• If you wanted him to make the Finals, he needed a better roster. When healthy the Sixers have the best starting five in the East, but beyond that it drops off fast, leaving little room for Brown to match up and maneuver. Philadelphia is what it is.
• Either you think Brown is good enough to coach this team, or you do not. Basing his future on the randomness of a Game 7 — or making the Finals with an outmatched roster — is not how to make a sound decision. If you don’t think he’s right for the guy, let him go and get your guy.
• Who is Philadelphia getting that is better? If you think there’s a deep pool of great coaches in waiting, go look at the Lakers’ coaching search and get back to me.
If Philadelphia fires Brown whenever the Sixers’ season ends he will not be out of work long.