Larry Brown has done a pretty horrific job endearing himself to Sixers fans over the past year. One of the more revered coaches in the team's history, Brown has repeatedly ripped the organization for their team building tactics, then made sure to let everyone know that the Sixers reached out to him about former SMU recruit Emmanuel Mudiay, like he's some sort of draft consultant.
If he hadn't already alienated himself in Philadelphia, then he certainly did it today. The 74-year-old apparently opted to try and cleanse his soul of basketball sins by telling 97.5 The Fanatic the reasoning behind drafting Larry Hughes over Paul Pierce. Despite rating Paul Pierce higher on his draft board in the 1998 draft, Brown opted to select former guard Larry Hughes because he "promised" Hughes the Sixers would select him.
Here's the audio (courtesy of Derek Bodner):
"I always used to always tell our staff, 'We gotta go for the best player period.' Let's not even think about our needs unless they were very, very close. When we lost Paul Pierce at 10, we had him rated at two. We took Larry Hughes because we thought we had a need, but the reason we took Larry is I promised when we interviewed him, we knew we were getting the eighth pick, I promised him if he were there at eight we would take him. And I would never do that again."
Holy [expletive] [expletive], Larry. There are so many things wrong here. Let's dissect them.
- Brown actually had a genuinely decent philosophy in taking best player available over need, which he completely ignored because he made a promise to a teenager that he would select him. He then used his contradictory logic to justify the pick, which was just a bold face lie, and his actual reasoning was that he made a promise to a teenager.
- Brown actually had Paul Pierce rated at the second best player on his board, but opted to take Larry Hughes instead because well, this man's word is iron clad. This is the NBA, not kindergarten. Championship teams are built on talent, not pinky promises and swears on your mother.
- It's not like passing up on Larry Hughes was a life or death situation. He was going to be making millions of dollars at the age of 19 no matter who selected him. There's nothing wrong with him sliding a couple spots because another player ended up falling. That's how the draft works! It happens every year! Players fall, and you reap the benefits. But nooooooo, not this time. Larry Brown never goes back on a promise.
- It is so comforting to know that an elderly man in a seemingly weakened mental state who will never coach in the NBA again would not make the same mistake as he did with Larry Hughes, if given the chance. He might have cost the Sixers a couple titles down the line, but hey! He realized his mistake! We'll all sleep better at night now.
- Also, maybe if the Sixers didn't avoid drafting European players like they were some sort of airborne plague, Larry Brown would have realized Dirk Nowitzki was still on the board as well.
Larry Hughes played for the Sixers from 1998-2000. He hasn't played in the league since 2012, and only played 70 games in a season twice in his career. I don't need to tell you Paul Pierce's career trajectory.