Brown’s Words Add Insult to Injury

Posted by: Steve Toll
10/22/13 10:33 am EST

nerlensnoelisoredjerseycopyJust prior to the 76ers 104-93 preseason loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in which the team shot 7 air balls and MCW hit 1-11 from the field while playing ole’ defense on Kyrie Irving, head coach Brett Brown gave the following unexpected gem to the media when discussing Nerlens Noel’s return from ACL surgery, “I doubt, everybody doubts, that he’s going to play this year.”

Needless to say, this comment from Brown set the the Twitter-sphere on fire last night and for me, this “announcement” (Which was later softened by other comments from “sources” within the Sixers.) is just another addition to the list of mistakes made in the “Joshua Harris Era”.

The moment that Nerlens Noel was acquired, it was plainly obvious that he wasn’t going to play……. If the organization had its way.  Nobody seems to care what Nerlens Noel wants to do  this season.  The 76ers have a new motto, “Together We Build” and this latest misstep is proof of how out of touch the ownership group and everyone involved with the 76ers continue to be.

Since Derrick Rose is the most notable ACL injury in recent NBA history, Noel will erroneously be compared with him. The same Derrick Rose, who had $280,000,000 (between NBA and Adidas) in guaranteed contracts, when he refused to play last season after being medically cleared to do so for a team competing for an NBA title.  This is a unique situation, just like Rose’s selfish and heartless actions last year.

If you don’t expect to hear Nerlens Noel contradict the statement made by Brett Brown, you should.  One thing that is obvious with pro athletes is, they are all about respect.  Brown’s comment, was the ultimate act of disrespect towards Nerlens Noel.  To hear your coach openly state that the organization doesn’t expect you to play while you’re six and a half months into rehab, must be infuriating.

Brett Brown isn’t a doctor, so why is he making a medical statement?  He didn’t mention a setback in Noel’s rehab which would cause him to miss the season.  The only possible way to interpret his statement is that Noel isn’t a hard worker (in Brett Brown and the organization’s eyes) and therefore, won’t be finished his rehab before the season ends.

Here is what based on the recent history of the organization, Nerlens Noel should say.

‘The statements made yesterday by Brett Brown are insulting.  It’s one thing for him to think that privately, but to publicly announce that is a joke.  Call me crazy, but I think I am going to play this year which was confusing when he said “everyone doubts he will play this year”.  I didn’t ask to be traded to the 76ers, but I am here now to ask that they trade me away.  If Brett Brown’s statements are true, the organization doesn’t believe in me.  The feelings at this moment are currently mutual.  I am blessed with the unique opportunity to play basketball for a living and I fully intend to do that as soon as possible.  I am not Andrew Bynum, I am not Derrick Rose, I am Nerlens Noel.  With that being said, this isn’t necessarily the end to my time in Philadelphia.  Mr. Harris, Mr. Hinkie and Mr. Brown all have the opportunity to make this right privately and publicly.  If that is done, I look forward to a happy, healthy and successful career with the Philadelphia 76ers.’

Nerlens Noel has been put into a corner by the organization for no good reason and anything other than an angry response will be disheartening.  He has an opportunity to set the tone for his career in Philly earlier than anyone expected.  To stand up as a man and make it clear, he is here to fight and bleed for his teammates and the fans of Philadelphia.  What happens in the next few days will be an interesting view into the mind of Nerlens Noel.

Regardless of what follows, how is it possible to believe in “Together We Build”?


Steve Toll is a scribe for

You can follow him on Twitter @BasementGM.

You can follow us @philadunkia.


30 Responses to “Brown’s Words Add Insult to Injury”

  1. NBA Genuine Draft
    22. October 2013 at 11:43

    This year it’s “Together We Tank”. Anything else is pure window dressing. All we fans have to look forward to is:

    – Watching for record-setting blowouts or losing streaks
    – Enjoying any social media controversy to break up the monotony of losing.
    – Seeing how long Royce White lasts before he invokes a no-fly zone.
    – Listening to Doug Collins’ color commentary about his former team during the one Sixers game that’ll be televised this year.

    Other than that, it’s turn off the lights and wake me up in October of 2014.

  2. Dude
    22. October 2013 at 12:04

    This article is so much angrier than it should be. You don’t think there’s even a little chance the owners, coach, & maybe even Noel got together and said “Hey, last year’s situation with Bynum was a complete catastrophe. We’re going to be terrible right off the bat, and fans are going to be clamoring to see Noel play. Let’s set the bar low in case there are any setbacks, or we all decide it’s the best course of action to hold him out all year. If he does play, it’ll be a sweet bonus in fans eyes, and if he doesn’t, at least they won’t be rioting like last year and Noel won’t be seen as a ‘selfish, heartless’ villain before he even begins his career here.”

    BTW calling Rose selfish and heartless is corny man. Unless you know what it’s like to be recovering from a torn ACL and are being asked to hurl your body full speed at 7’2 300lb men a dozen times every night. If Chicago had come out and said “we don’t expect Rose to play this season” (a completely reasonable statement given when he injured himself) then nobody would be considering him to be selfish or heartless, rightly or wrongly. Maybe the Sixers are just taking a lesson here… I mean if people could get angry at DERRICK FREAKING ROSE, they would surely turn much quicker on a rookie who hasn’t played a minute yet. Just saying…

  3. Jon in LA
    22. October 2013 at 12:48

    Brown is tempering expectations. Remember how last year they sold the season on Bynum’s return? Well, they are not doing that this year. It’s actually nice to hear and it also shows that you respect your fans. You’re not trying to bilk them and sell them future tickets. Noel had surgery in March. If he took a solid year to rehab, then that means he would be back in March. December was always an optimistic date.

    And what corner is the organization being putting him in? The corner where he’s not going to get asked everyday if he’s coming back this year? The corner that lowers his expectations as a savior and allows him to rehab and get healthy on whatever timeline he and his doctors want? Is this the same corner that Blake Griffin sat in for a year before coming back and winning ROTY?

  4. Steve Toll
    22. October 2013 at 14:12


    You honestly think that Noel got together with the 76ers brain trust and gave the ok to Brett Brown saying, “EVERYONE doubts he will play this year”?

    His situation is NOTHING like Derrick Rose or Andrew Bynum’s. Your justification of “let’s set the bar low” is nonsensical considering the teams goal is to be the worst in the league. Nobody will view Noel as heartless or selfish in regards TO HIS DECISION ABOUT WHEN TO PLAY BASKETBALL, because this season is wholly insignificant

    The heartless and selfish thing to do is come out as the brand new head coach and say EVERYBODY expects him to miss the season. I can assure you that a Nerlens Noel and Dr. James Andrews disagree?

    WHY WOULD THE BULLS COME OUT AND SAY “We don’t expect Derrick Rose to play?”

    Derrick Rose signs 5yr-$94 million MAX contract with the Chicago Bulls

    Derrick Rose signs 14yr-$260,000,000 contract with ADIDAS

    Derrick Rose is MEDICALLY cleared to play for the Chicago Bulls

    On March 9th the Chicago Bulls were 35-27 and finished the remaining 20 games with a record of 10-10. Every person in Chicago should have been mad at a Derrick Rose, including everyone in the Bulls Organization.

    In hindsight, Dude, you are right…….. What was iIthinking

  5. Steve Toll
    22. October 2013 at 14:23

    Jon in LA,

    Tempering what expectations? The expectations that a professional basketball player when medically cleared to play, will actually play? Last year and Andrew Bynum has nothing to do with this season, your argument is not valid. Nobody is buying tickets because of the prospect of Noel playing basketball in March. How does Brown’s comments show “respect for the fans”?

    When Brown said, “EVERYONE expects him to miss the year”, what kind of message was that sending?

    Who do you think would be asking him EVERYDAY, “IF he is coming back to play”?
    The answer is simple, “I’ll play when I am medically cleared to play”

    The Blake Griffin situation was totally different.

  6. Philadunkia
    22. October 2013 at 14:34

    Jon & Dude,

    I hear what both of you are saying, but I can also understand Steve’s extreme disappointment in Brown’s words that produced the rant portion of his post.

    One would think this organization would learn from the handling of the Bynum knee debacle, but it doesn’t seem they have. When asked about Noel’s recovery the company line for the Sixers should be, “Noel’s rehab is going well and the doctors have no given us any information on a date for his possible return.” THAT’s IT. Nothing more.

    Brown’s comments were simply unnecessary at this time.

    Every athlete is different, but with modern rehab techniques and AP’s miraculous recovery from ACL surgery setting the bar, the timetable for returning to action from that procedure is no longer 12 months. 8-9 months is the expected rehab/recovery period, despite D-Rose’s actions last season.

    FYI Griffin had a very different knee injury his rookie season — a fractured/broken kneecap which refused to heal correctly and required surgery. This injury is less common and much more serious than a torn ACL.

    All Brown’s words did was stir up a host of “here we go again” thoughts among the casual Sixers fans. Those of us who follow the team closely realize this was probably the plan from the start, but folks who follow this team closely are hard to find these days.

    To be honest I was shocked and angry he would make such a strong comment on Noel’s injury at this time and yesterday I was asking, “What the F*** is this organization thinking about letting him discuss this right now?”

    Thanks for reading & commenting.

    — C. Smith

  7. Jon in LA
    22. October 2013 at 17:47

    C. Smith,

    I think they did learn from Bynum last year. Instead of teasing fans along, Brown said he doubts he will even play. Last year we kept getting dates that Bynum is going to return. Then the bottom fell out.

    People need to stop comparing every ACL injury to Peterson. Peterson is a freak of nature. He’s an outlier. No one should be compared to him. As a matter of fact, no one’s injury can be compared to anyone else’s. Everyone’s body heals differently. 9 months for an ACL might work for some people, but it’s not going to work for everyone. Also factor in the Noel is only 19 and his body is still taking shape. Everyone wants him to add another 20 lbs. So now his knee has to be strong enough not be re-injured with another 20 lbs attached to him. My point is, while modern medicine means 9 months is the new 12 months, it doesn’t mean, as Steve puts it, “The only possible way to interpret his statement is that Noel isn’t a hard worker (in Brett Brown and the organization’s eyes) and therefore, won’t be finished his rehab before the season ends.” It just means he doubts he’ll be ready.

    The Blake Griffin reference wasn’t about his injury, just the fact that a top pick can sit out a year to get healthy and become the face of the franchise (before CP3).

    And what are we really talking about here? Like 20 games? Is that really a huge deal? While I’d love to see him on the court this year, Brown saying he doesn’t expect Noel to play the last 20 games isn’t that big of a deal. Steve’s acting like a nuclear bomb went off.

    But I will say I wasn’t too happy with how Brown did it. He was asked a question and responded probably a little too honestly. I agree C. Smith that he should have said what you said. But saying that Noel should make a statement saying he wants to be traded? That’s just stupid and a whiny overreaction.

  8. Alex
    22. October 2013 at 20:42

    Agree with Steve on this. Tanking is one thing but handling a situation like this is another. If you want to keep Noel out , do it carefully and with dignity. Lets say team in consulting with physicians decided to let him sit out to minimize potential risks, etc. etc.
    I seems like Brown also needs some development to become a seasoned coach.

  9. Joe
    23. October 2013 at 08:07

    Steve Toll,

    Do you know for sure that Rose was being ‘selfish and heartless’ as you so melodramatically put it, or do you think that it might have something to do with the Jerry Reinsdorf living up to his frugal reputation (he’s only paid the luxury tax once) and claiming almost $6.5m of Rose’s salary back on insurance?

  10. Steve Toll
    23. October 2013 at 12:34

    Every time I read your posts, I hysterically laugh. It’s one thing to think out of the box, it’s another thing to do what you consistently do.

    Derrick Rose signs 5yr-$94 million MAX contract with the Chicago Bulls

    Derrick Rose signs 14yr-$260,000,000 contract with ADIDAS

    Derrick Rose is MEDICALLY cleared to play for the Chicago Bulls

  11. Steve Toll
    23. October 2013 at 12:42

    Jon in LA,

    The last game of the year is April 16th. If Nerlens Noel isn’t ready to play by then, he will be part of the group of people that never fully recover from an ACL injury.

    You seriously underestimate how important RESPECT is among pro athletes, even young ones

  12. Jon in LA
    23. October 2013 at 15:37

    Steve Toll,

    “Last year and Andrew Bynum has nothing to do with this season, your argument is not valid.” Yeah, because no one would ever compare trading your only all-star for a center that misses the entire year with a knee injury to having the exact thing happen the next year. While I agree those two are completely different, you have to admit that people are going to bring it up. Was Bynum a part of the mistakes in the Josh Harris Era that you also mentioned? Because if it was, you just proved my point. And in your Noel rant, you had him mention Bynum too. The media and the fans will bring it up. Look at every article about Noel missing this year. The latter half is always about Bynum.

    Who do you think would be asking him EVERYDAY, “IF he is coming back to play”?
    The answer is simple, “I’ll play when I am medically cleared to play”
    Yeah, because reporters and fans will accept that and just stop asking questions. Because people like you won’t overreact to something Brown says and then say that Noel should demand a trade. OK. I’ll trust you with that one.

    “The last game of the year is April 16th. If Nerlens Noel isn’t ready to play by then, he will be part of the group of people that never fully recover from an ACL injury.”
    Is that the same group that Derrick Rose is in? Because taking a long recovery means that the ACL will never fully heal? Because more rest means it gets worst? I’m sorry, you totally Steve Toll’d me here and I can’t even figure out your point.

    “You seriously underestimate how important RESPECT is among pro athletes, even young ones”
    No I don’t. I even mentioned in my response to C. Smith that I didn’t like what Brown did and that he probably overstepped. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He did clarify his comments the next day (going as far as to ask the reporters if they wanted to talk about it). And while I doubt that Noel wasn’t happy with that comment, I highly doubt that it’s anything major with him and Brett Brown. Brown does nothing but talk highly about him. He even works on his shot with him practicing one handed shots. It’s not like he punched his mom.

    My main issue was with how you think Noel should handle it. Do you really think it would be smart for him to demand a trade over this?

  13. Dude
    23. October 2013 at 15:58

    Steve Toll,

    I just think you are being overly harsh/angry is all. My point was simply that there is nothing to gain by declaring Noel should or will be back by Christmas (or any arbitrary date), and nothing to lose by saying they don’t expect him back. If they say Xmas, and he can’t come back before then or at all, it looks terrible (and yes, the “here we go again” talks will begin, justified or not). If they say they don’t expect him and he does come back mid-season, it’s a bonus.

    I would find it pretty hard to believe that Noel is perturbed by this, let alone steaming mad like you seem to be.

    It’s a non-story.

  14. Joe
    23. October 2013 at 18:24

    Steve Toll,

    Please explain to me how you think you answered my question by copying and pasting some links from an earlier rebuttal you made to someone else that are irrelevant to my point.

  15. Pat
    23. October 2013 at 18:42

    Steve toll is one of those fans who would find something bad to say about the 76ers right up to the point where they win they’re next nba finals. Sad way to root for a team, trading Noel is a pathetic overreaction. Any real fan that follows the 76ers knows we are going to win 15 games if we are lucky with or without Noel this season. Lets hope for a healthy wiggins/Noel combo to start the rebuilding process next season.

  16. Steve Toll
    23. October 2013 at 20:21

    Jon in LA,

    Andrew Bynum was last year and in no way shape or form related to Andrew a Bynum.

    ~10 months after he tore his ACL

    There is a serious issues as that’s 14 months after he tore his ACL

    The 76ers are a toxic environment at the moment, nobody in the NBA wants to play for them

    Must be why Brett Brown totally backtracked today.

    Your question was ” did the owner of the bulls tell Derrick Rose not to play so he could save $6,500,000?” Please go away, you won’t be missed

    I bet you felt really good about how last offseason went….. So forgive me if I dismiss your thoughts about my thoughts

  17. Joe
    24. October 2013 at 09:34

    Steve Toll,

    You’ve kind of twisted my words as I asked whether it had something to do with Rose not playing last season. I’m not saying it definitely did happen (the fallout for Reinsdorf would be enormous if it were ever proven) but that it MIGHT have been a factor.

    Also, Pat is right. Case in point:

    “Based on everything the 76ers have said, tanking doesn’t seem to be in their plans. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how they will go about building a winning team. Without a homerun lottery pick this year, anything but tanking will just delay the inevitable fate that tanking is the one true option. ”

    – 3rd April, 2013.

    “Looking at it, it’s very tough to take the tanking approach… just can’t advocate what Sam Hinkie has decided to do with the 76ers.”

    LOL contradictions to suit your own devils-advocate agenda abound!

  18. Joe
    24. October 2013 at 09:34

    Forgot to say, the second quote is from you on the 23rd July, 2013.

  19. Pat
    24. October 2013 at 11:11

    I didn’t mind how last offseason went it, took a chance on Bynum it didn’t work out. Glad it led to the Sam heiniki rebuilding era that we are in now and hopefully will lead to the 76era being a force soon for several years. We wouldn’t have had a good enough team to compete with the heat if Bynum came back healthy anyways. You overact and are too pessimistic in many of your articles. Glad the readers and real writers at phildunkia tear you apart.

  20. Alex
    24. October 2013 at 14:07

    I tore my ACL last april playing basketball, had the surgery in early July and have been recovering it since.

    I agree that every case is different (I for one had a full range of motion in 3 weeks, but have been experiencing some bad tendinitis), but for a professional athlete, who can spend 6 hours/day rehabing, there is no way they will be away from the game for more than 12 months. 12 months is already a large period.

    I’d be very pissed if a pro athlete decided to be kept out of play if he was cleared to play.

    D Rose is killing right now, but it does not mean that he’ll be able to keep this up all year long and also free from other injuries.

    For me, if I’m able to get back to the court by december, I’d be real happy!

  21. Steve Toll
    24. October 2013 at 15:18


    Your question was framed EXACTLY in the way I interpreted it. Sam Hinkie, in my humble opinion, isn’t tanking the correct way

  22. Jon in LA
    24. October 2013 at 18:19

    “Andrew Bynum was last year and in no way shape or form related to Andrew a Bynum.”
    No clue what that means.

    You don’t understand that just because a doctor says you are medically clear, doesn’t mean you or your team, feels that you should play. Rose’s doctor, who, if you need help understanding, ISN’T ACTUALLY DERRICK ROSE. So when Derrick Rose says he doesn’t feel comfortable with where his knee is at, then THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. He said he didn’t feel like it was right yet so he kept resting. Now he says that it’s alright, so he’s playing. As much as you want to pretend that you can, you cannot know how someone else feels inside themselves. If Noel isn’t ready, or I don’t know, the team wants him to play it safe or maybe even get into game shape as an 87er, it wouldn’t mean he’s automatically, “part of the group of people that never fully recover from an ACL injury.”

    “The 76ers are a toxic environment at the moment, nobody in the NBA wants to play for them”
    Wrong. Some players came to Philly because they knew they would have a better shot at getting playing time instead of riding the bench. Look it up.

  23. Bk
    24. October 2013 at 19:56

    Steve Toll,

    You are an absolute genius. The way in which you piss people off is amazing. When writers try to attract attention through shock and idiotic, generalized thoughts, they tend to go overboard. However you have found the perfect balance to piss everyone off while somehow fooling them in believing that you are this shallow and arrogant. I mean, come on guys, if Steve toll actually thought these things, he’d be easily one of the most arrogant people in the world. So congrats Steve on fooling everyone and kudos for Philadunkia for making this hire.

  24. Joe
    25. October 2013 at 04:20

    Steve Toll,

    Okay, moving on from your delusional interpretation of my question, please explain to me the differences between the tanking Sam Hinkie is doing and the “correct” way to tank.

  25. Steve Toll
    25. October 2013 at 12:52


    I literally believe everything I say

    Jon in LA,

    You’re wrong about Rose and you’re wrong about Noel.

    Name 1 player who came to the 76ers, “because they knew they would have a better shot at getting playing time instead of riding the bench”


    You can’t afford that answer

  26. Joe
    25. October 2013 at 17:24

    Steve Toll,

    ‘You can’t afford that answer’ – that’s another one to add to these two gems from you when you’ve been backed into a corner:

    “There are far more indicators of a players value than WS48, PER, and 0+D Rating. For the public, they are decent metrics. In reality, there is a ton more going on privately and the ‘secret stats’ happen to show that Iggy is ELITE”


    ” Joe
    11. April 2013 at 11:34

    Steve Toll,

    What’s the point when this is your opinion of defensive rating?

    “In what world is defensive rating a competent stat that anyone can refer to when attempting to quantify aa players defensive capabilities? You are implying that it is one of note. Fact, it is extremely minisclue.”

    Steve Toll
    11. April 2013 at 21:33


    This is that world. Not gonna give up too much free info”

    LOL free info that you think you can make me believe you have.

    Just admit that you’ve contradicted yourself and been caught out. If you keep contradicting yourself, I’ll keep doing this to you, and you’ll keep having to make an idiot of yourself with these pathetic attempts to save face which just make you look even worse.

  27. Steve Toll
    26. October 2013 at 17:11


    You’ve got a sick and twisted world perspective, little boy. What is your major malfunction?

  28. Joe
    26. October 2013 at 20:36

    Steve Toll,

    You can’t afford that answer.

  29. Jon in LA
    26. October 2013 at 22:03


    Darius Morris came to the Sixers for an opportunity. You lose. Again.

    And I love how I’m wrong about Rose even though what I explained is literally what happened last year. You clown.

  30. Steven Toll
    28. October 2013 at 14:53

    Jon in LA,

    You feel vindicated about a minimum salary player on the worst team in the league coming here to fight for minutes over what is the weakest position, PG, of any team in the NBA.

    No team has a worse group of players at any position than the 76ers at PG.

    You’re pathetic

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