PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Monday night was a bit of a reality check for the Philadelphia 76ers. On top of the world, after a 3-0 start that shocked just about anyone who was paying attention, the Sixers were run out of the building by the Golden State Warriors, 110-90, a final score that looks about twice as good for the Sixers as the game did.
Still, at 3-1, the Sixers are still playing much better than anyone could have hoped. Brett Brown is getting a lot of the credit for the turnaround, and rightly so. He’s taken a team who once relied on inefficient, long two point shots, and forced them to take shots either in the lane, or beyond the arc.
“I was [surprised by the start], I think that the players, to their credit, found something extra than what everybody had thought and to some levels, myself,” Brown told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Wednesday. “The players deserve the credit. They found a way to collectively, despite all the opinions of what’s going on in Philadelphia, to stay together and individually perform at their best. I’m proud of them, I thought their efforts so far have been great.”
Though the entire team has been a revelation, the play of rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been the most surprising. The 11th pick in the draft was supposed to be a project, but he’s looked like anything but that, earning NBA Eastern Conference Player of The Week in his first week in the league.
“I get very greedy and the bar is set high. I’ve been around a lot of hall of fame players and had the great experience of being apart of championships, so that’s how you sort of view your team and view players. There’s a high standard that I’ve been lucky to be around, and with Michael [Carter-Williams] you come in and because he doesn’t go a thousand miles an hour at practice, it’s not like he’s like you know, a head-banger—he’s going to knock somebody’s head off,” Brown said.
“There is a cruising side of him that initially frustrated me. I would pull him aside and he’s great. He’s a good young person and he’s coach-able, and we’d be candid with each other on, ‘Hey, this is what we’re looking for.’ And then it started moving forward, despite that initial impression there is a competitive spirit in him and a swagger that triumphs everything I just said and I think you’re going to see an emerging great player, perspective if he can continue to work. I think this city is very lucky to have somebody like that, and with his length and his size, he’s a very unique point guard.”
Brown isn’t the only Philadelphia head coach with New England roots, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly does as well, and as it turns out, the two go back a ways.
“Back in my New England days, I have a very close friend from Maine who was Chip [Kelly’s] roommate at the University of New Hampshire and when I was at Boston University I would make my way up to New Hampshire and hang out with them. I would enjoy their company a lot,” Brown said. “I think over the years, to watch what Chip has done has been a thrill for me too.”
The Sixers look to get back to winning on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Wizards.