PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Thursday, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown joined WIP Afternoons to discuss how some of the young Sixers hopefuls have looked in Summer League play and where he sees the team going as they execute Sam Hinkie’s rebuild strategy.
Entering his second season at the helm in Philadelphia, Brown is well aware of the daunting task that he, Hinkie and ownership have undertaken. “I think it’s unprecedented what we’re going through,” Brown told Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis.
Not too many NBA franchises that win 19 regular season games would take two top ten picks in the NBA Draft and walk away with two players that will not be ready to play for the team for quite some time. Brown understands that the strategy is a unique one, but he is confident it is the right one.
“The foundation is being set as we promised the marketplace,” Brown said. “We appreciate the fans going through some very very hard years in order to try to just give us a chance to see through this. When you draft players like Embiid and Saric you make an even more defined point that we will do whatever it takes to make good long term decisions.”
Brown views defense as the key pillar that will stabilize his unit moving forward. “We want to build a defensive program,” said Brown.
There has indeed been evidence to support Brown’s claim. The Sixers Summer League squad is filled with young, long, athletic players that will make the Sixers a tough team to get inside on and to finish on at the rim. Nerlens Noel has been a stellar rim protector throughout the Summer League and Brown is excited about what he has seen from Noel.
“Slowly you can see the bounce he has to his game. He can make plays that a lot of people just can’t make,” Brown said.
Another potential defensive stalwart that has caught Brown’s eye has been K.J. McDaniels. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year has shown the potential to be a solid NBA wing defender and his new coach is pleased with another skill that he has that most players at his position don’t.
“I see a tenacity defensively,” Brown said of McDaniels. “He’s got this strange skill as a wing where he blocks shots. He’s got a real instinct to go block a shot.”
If all pans out for the Sixers, the team will have a core that consists of Michael Carter-Williams (6’6), Dario Saric (6’10), Noel (6’11) and Joel Embiid (7’0). It only makes sense, considering that amount of size and athleticism, to build around defense.
Brown is also looking to emulate his former team, the San Antonio Spurs. The Sixers’ coach wants to build the kind of consistency that will allow the Sixers to compete annually much like his former team. Brown described what the Spurs have established as “The Holy Grail.”
Brown knows that the fans are going through a tough time, but he plans to continue to work to rewards them in the end. “We’re doing everything we can do deliver on our promise.”
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