The rumors had been circulating: Brett Brown was on thin ice as the Philadelphia coach. There were reports he needed to get the conference finals, or maybe the NBA finals, to retain his job under a new GM, Elton Brand, who did not hire him.
Not true — Brown will be back to coach the Sixers next season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, and Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia has confirmed it.
This is the right move.
It’s one Joel Embiid will back. He said of the rumors of Brown’s job being in danger, “I just thought it was bulls****. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s been there through everything, and then this year I think he grew even more as a coach. It’s hard when you’ve got five guys that can score the ball and that can do a lot of things on the basketball court. It’s hard to put it together. At the end of the day, it comes down to the players. I don’t think he should have anything to worry about. He’s an amazing coach, better person. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of love for him. If there was someone to blame, put it all on me.”
Brown did a good job this season in a challenging situation. Brand pivoted the team quickly from building slowly with youth to “win now” by trading a lot of depth (and some picks) for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. The roster kept changing, key players missed stretches of time, which made it was hard to develop any rhythm or build good habits. Plus, the Sixers had no depth, which tied Browns’ hands in terms of adjustments he could make in the playoffs. Yet the team still was the three seed in the East, won its first-round series, and went seven games in the second round — where Brown outcoached Nick Nurse — only to lose in painful fashion.
Brown deserves a training camp to see how he can mold this roster, whatever it looks like next season.