By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s funny how quickly things get lost and forgotten—especially in Philadelphia. A touch of success can do that. It can suddenly whisk the hard times away. It seems to have done that to Brett Brown.
The Sixers’ coach only directed the team to its most seismic single-season improvement in franchise history, going from winning 28 games last year to 52 games this season. The Sixers made the playoffs and won a playoff series for the first time in six years, while the young nucleus of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz continues to grow.
So anyone who broaches the idea that Brett Brown should be fired—based on the Boston playoff series—actually needs their head examined and basketball IQ tested again. The Sixers overachieved this year, and much of that credit stems from Brown. He’s the one who built the foundation of this team, which will and should have many more playoff runs ahead of it.
Brown was pedaling ball movement and defense, two areas of the game that aren’t exactly defined as sexy by the new school players coming in the NBA. Brown got this group to buy in—and not only that, he got them to believe in Brett Brown.
What’s happening in the NBA semifinals is proof. LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers are being steamrolled by the same Boston Celtics that beat the Sixers in five games. Yes, did Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens outduel Brown, there’s no question. Stevens, however, has been a head coach in the playoffs. Brown never was, prior to this year. Like his young team, Brown also learned.
Above all else, the Sixers seem committed to their coach, as is Brown to his players. That’s a bond that should at least get another two more years to win an NBA title.
Not many thought the Sixers would win more than 42 games this year, scratching their way to maybe the seventh or eighth playoff slot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Not many pundits saw them winning 50 games or better. Not many thought the Sixers would even get out of the first round.
The Sixers did both.
The season was a substantial incremental step in a gleaming direction. Brett Brown deserves the chance to get them there-if for anything else putting up with all the putrid mess he had to endure his first four years here.