Brett Brown, even more than other potential ones, has been identified and keyed in on as the official "martyr" of the tanking Sixers. Never mind that he signed after the Sixers clearly started the tank before they hired Brown at an unusually late date and he accepted the challenge. By his own words in the media (the gypsies comment stands out), and by his accomplishments with this team, Brown is the "good guy" in The Process.
After two years as a coach, Brown has the fifth worst record among all coaches who have helmed at least a season's worth of games, and the second worst among coaches with more than one season.
A lot of people thought Brett Brown was making a mistake in taking the Sixers' open job. Maybe he was - his old team, the San Antonio Spurs, won a championship the year after he left. Other premier jobs have opened up in Oakland and Chicago that he would have been a natural candidate for. Other coaches pointed out that coaches with terrible records rarely get second chances.
Worst NBA Winning Percentage, Minimum 82 Games Coached
For the most part, the coaching fraternity (and it's definitely a fraternity, sans Becky Hammon) is right. The 50 coaches with the worst records in NBA history (minimum one full season) have not lasted five seasons. Performance talks. If you don't show well early, you rarely get a second chance to redeem yourself, and you definitely don't get a good second chance.
Brown signed a four-year deal as part of his initial contract with the team. Despite the poor record, Brown is a natural candidate for an extension. GM Sam Hinkie loves what Brown has done, and he's got a few feathers in his cap. The above-expectations play of guys like Hollis Thompson and Robert Covington speaks well of his player development abilities. The team's 13th ranked defense last season shows he can design a system that works even without top-end talent on the court. He's shown well despite the poor record.
But Brown and the team have not yet discussed an extension. You would think Brown would want to see the process through, but he may want a new challenge. He won't have trouble finding a job elsewhere, if it comes down to that. He's done well enough to buck a coaching trend - and have a good reputation despite all the losing. It's something to keep an eye on over the next year, as he should get the chance to see the team through until it's competitive. That is, if he wants to do it.
I don't mean to inspire panic - if the Sixers improve as much as we think they can after this season, this job would be a very attractive one for any NBA coach, especially one who got the team to the fringes of contention. But it's interesting that Brown was warned so much against taking the position, and despite the effort with negative results, his stock is as high as ever.