PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When a child does something wrong, people blame his or her parents. That’s the natural inclination.
When a sports team — especially a professional sports team — underperforms, people blame the head coach. That’s the natural inclination.
But it doesn’t make it right.
And I’m here to tell you, the Sixers’ recent 1-7 stretch of basketball is not Brett Brown’s fault.
The simplest way to defend Brown is to look at isolation points, the number of points scored by a team in isolation. Iso points are obviously important in basketball, because when the play breaks down so many NBA teams rely on their most talented players to give them consistent scoring in iso situations.
The Sixers are dead last in the NBA averaging a miserable 3.67 iso points per game. This is because the Sixers do not have a perimeter player — other than Dario Saric, on occasion — that can break his defender down off the dribble and score the basketball. J.J. Redick, Jerryd Bayless (aka Lord Baelish), and Robert Covington are all catch-and-shoot scorers.
For context, James Harden alone is averaging 10.6 iso points per game and 13 NBA teams have 220 total iso points or more, which doubles Philly’s 110 in 30 games.
As The Athletic’s Mike O’Connor points out, the Sixers among the top teams in clutch situations and plays out of timeouts. They’re also fourth in pace (103.33), first in rebounding (48.9/game), and third in assists (26.4/game).
And for the people that are upset with the team shooting too early in the shot clock? Here’s Derek Bodner.
In addition to all of that, Brown has dealt with multiple lineups over the past two weeks due to injuries to T.J. McConnell, newly acquired Trevor Booker, and Joel Embiid. Plus, the Sixers’ only capable iso player on their roster — No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz — has given them nothing this season due to his shoulder issue — or whatever we’re calling it these days.
Look, when you lose seven of eight — four of which to the Suns, Lakers, Bulls, and Kings — the coach should not be exempt from criticism. He needs to do something different, he knows that. But for people like myself, O’Connor, Bodner, and others that are defending Brown, we understand that he’s not the issue here.
Firing Brown, which I don’t think the Sixers will do (see above tweet from September), would not help the franchise in any way. It would only set The Process back further, and no one wants that.