This year, Brett Brown solidified his position as the losingest coach in the history of the Sixers franchise. He has the most losses (253) in franchise history, surpassing coaches who in some cases coached the team for twice as many years as he has, and his 22.9% winning percentage is the lowest of any Sixers coach who lasted for a full season.
And I’ve never felt better about him.
That’s not to say this season was all sunshine and rainbows for the only remaining constant of the full Process Era. I didn’t feel this good about him at the beginning of the season. In fact, it was the only time I’ve wavered on whether I thought Brett was the right man for the job.
Outside the lines, I’ve never been anything but thrilled with Brett. He kept a team of young players, who, in most cases, have never experienced significant failure on a basketball court, from going off the rails for four years. You almost never heard a player rip the team or the rebuilding plan publicly. You rarely see a lack of effort that has always been the media bogeyman when it comes to a long-term rebuild, the dreaded LOSING HABITS that can never be broken.
Despite the organization’s newfound commitment to being transparent and available to the media, much like under the old regime, it was Brett who was the only one available when the truly tough questions needed to be asked, like why the team’s franchise player was injured one week, played the next week in a nationally-televised game, and then missed the next three weeks while listed as “day-to-day.”
He’s always been there, like a caring father of the process, and he’s kept the ship moving forward.
Still, I wavered, because the beginning of this season continued a trend I had noticed in recent years, which is that when crunch time came, the Sixers turned into the living embodiment of the Community GIF where everything’s on fire.
Most of that, obviously, had to be attributed to the combined lack of talent and experience Brett had to work with. Much like you can’t get to the moon by climbing a tree, you can’t build a space shuttle with balsa wood and Elmer’s glue. I understood that, but it still nagged at me.
It nagged further after several close losses in November where not only was the talent lacking, but the playcalls out of timeouts seemed poor. After several games ended in the same way, a timeout, followed by a contested Gerald Henderson mid-range isolation play, I had enough.
I wasn’t alone. With another comically poor start, at 1-9 in the first 10 games, it seemed possible for the first time in recent memory that the Sixers might consider a change. But the team began to rattle off some wins to keep Brett’s job secure. The feeling still nagged, though. And then this happened:
It was an undeniably successful, creative play out of a timeout to beat Minnesota at home. Like a gift from the heavens.
I don’t know if that play actually flipped the switch, but it was the turning point for me. Throughout the season, as the talent continued to mature, so did the decision making. Brett started taking different approaches and began to let his players play situations out rather than call timeouts and force his less talented offense to square off against a ready to play defense. The result:
Sometimes, in life, you waver, even when you’re sure of something. You know you want to diet, but god, that pastry looks so good right about now. You know that breakup is best for you, but you’re lonely, you really miss her, and you start to think that maybe you can work things out.
And sometimes, you trust the process, but you lose faith in its steward for a little bit. It’s healthy to question, and it’s satisfying when you realize you were right the first time around.
I’m swiping right on Brett Brown, today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future. I will play this game.
What would you do with Brett Brown?
This poll is closed
swipe left (fire, Eddie Jordan’s available!)
swipe right (keep, EDDIE JORDAN is available)
super like (make Eddie Jordan stay away from my son forever)