The All-Star break is here, and the playoffs are just around the corner. The Philadelphia 76ers are posed to have a very important postseason. After trading for two franchise players in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, the 76ers expect to go far in the playoffs, and hopefully make the Finals. Elton Brand, the 76ers General Manager, made the trades for Butler and Harris expecting a Finals win within the next few seasons, as they gave up many draft picks and young players to win now. The team looks promising, the starting lineup is one of the best in the league, and the bench isn’t too bad itself. However, the biggest question mark of the team is the leader of the team, the head coach, Brett Brown.
Brett Brown has been the head coach of the 76ers since 2013, the beginning of the “Process”. Praised for his player development skills, Brown has turned “garbage into gold” by taking G-league players like Robert Covington or TJ McConnell and turning them into valuable pieces. Guys like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have said they love playing for him, crediting his ability to create a great team atmosphere. However, is that the extent of his abilities as a coach? Brown now has a team that is ready to win and does not need any more development, but the team somehow cannot get it together. The 76ers are 1-7 against the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks, their Eastern conference rivals. Without quality wins against their opponents in the East, it is unlikely that they can get wins against them in the playoffs. In these games, Brown was consistently outcoached by the opposing coaches, as Brad Stevens, Mike Budenholzer, and even the rookie coach, Nick Nurse all out game-planned him.
The addition of Jimmy Butler has also put a strain on the team, as Brown reportedly argued with Butler over the amount of shots Butler was getting per game. With multiple ball-dominant players on a team, it is up to the coach to distribute their touches, and Brown has proven to have problems with that. There was also the story that the 76ers’ coaches tried to change Markelle Fultz’s shot, and thus creating the hitch in his shot. Nonetheless, this story has no weight to it, and the blame should not be put on Coach Brown.
While Brown has many flaws in his coaching style, there is not many better options than him. Brown has gone 10-4 in their past fourteen games, including wins against the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, two of the top teams in the league. Brown has proven he can win against excellent coaches, as he beat his former boss and mentor, Gregg Popovich, several times now. Inexperience has also plagued his coaching career, but obviously with more time coaching, Brown can become one of the best coaches in the league. If the 76ers would replace Brown this offseason, it would be a huge mistake, as Brown has only shown a sliver of his abilities as a coach so far.