Grading Brett Brown On This Season

Posted by: Alex Gorge
05/08/14 10:56 am EST

brown-brettI walked into Moe’s Southwest Grill this week to order a burrito called “The Home Wrecker” that I had not eaten before.  The only problem was I choked big time when ordering it.  While the burrito was almost done being made, at the last second, I said to add extra jalapenos.

The employee asked me if I wanted pickled or fresh jalapenos.  I don’t know about you but I had never heard of pickled jalapenos, so naturally, I opted for the fresh.  I mean “Fresh” always beats “Pickled” when it comes to food right?  Wrong.

Pickled actually means normal, where as fresh means organic.  I’m well aware that the organic jalapenos are better for you but I just don’t like the taste of them.  The burrito was ruined and I wasn’t going to be “that guy” that holds up the entire line and demands a new one.  I couldn’t even judge the burrito because it wasn’t a true sampling of the product.  Now granted, there were some good components to the burrito, but I now have to go back a second time to get a real sense.

The same can be said about 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown’s first season in charge of the team.

Brown was handed organic jalapenos this year (tanking orders), but like me, he accepted it and didn’t blame the franchise.  Let’s be real though, we all know tanking tainted this season.  Now as fans, we have to wait for Brown’s second season at the helm of the 76ers before making a real judgment.

So now that were past the jalapenos, let’s talk about the other good and bad parts of this season’s burrito.

Brown came into Philadelphia this year preaching two main philosophies, pace and defense.  An up-tempo style was implemented well (PACE – 101.6 – 1st in the NBA) and may have been one of the reasons that Michael Carter-Williams just won Rookie of the Year.  The only problem with Brown’s PACE was that it didn’t translate to wins this season.  That may be in part because of Brown’s philosophy and the team’s execution at the other end of the court.

The former Aussie national coach employs a “pick your poison” defense which involves the perimeter defenders protecting the lane on all drives and then recovering to the perimeter/3-point line.  It’s a decent idea on paper but didn’t work with this year’s roster.  The end result of this defensive scheme was the Sixers giving up a lot of threes.  And by a lot of threes, I mean repulsive amounts.

Brett Brown & Co.  set a record for most games allowing fifteen or more threes and gave up a franchise record 21 3PM in consecutive games vs. the Blazers and Nets this season.  The worst part about giving up all these threes was it appears Brown refused to adjust his defense even when shooters like Jeremy Lin (9 threes made vs. Sixers); CJ Miles (10 threes made vs. Sixers) and Joe Johnson (10 threes made vs. Sixers) were torching the Sixers defense.  Brown constantly emphasized that he wanted to keep things simple and just instill his philosophy this season, for better or worse, so hopefully the horrible perimeter defense was an issue just for season of the tank.  Of course there is always the possibility defending the 3-ball is a bigger issue and will plague the Sixers in the future.

Another point fans can take issue with is how Brown managed his rotations.  Brown’s starters would keep games competitive initially and/or at the start of the second half.  Once they were subbed out for the reserves, it seemed the 76ers’ first five would sit for unusually large amounts of time.  The League’s second worst team had arguably the worst bench group in the history of the franchise and that collection of D-Leaguers hauled far too many minutes during this campaign.  Why didn’t Brown bring back his best players sooner in games this season?  Does Brown want to put a larger burden on the bench in the future?  Is his offense running the starters so much that they are legitimately fatigued?  The final answer, what could it be?  Yeah it was tanking.

Meanwhile, back on the offensive side, Brown gave shooters the green light this year.  This was evidenced through the Sixers taking 22.5 three point attempts per game, up five from last year.  An increased shooting philosophy saw Thad Young have a career year and embrace the new coach in the process.  “[Collins] would say, ‘I don’t want you taking any threes,’” Young said before the Sixers’ double-overtime win against the Magic at the Wells Fargo Center on December 4th.  “As opposed to Coach Brett coming in and saying, ‘I want you to step back and take threes.  It makes no sense to take a long two’.”

Personally I completely endorse upping the pace and coupling that with more threes.  Isn’t that Philadelphia’s new sports movement anyways?  It worked for the Eagles so why not the Sixers?

It didn’t work this year because the roster was almost repulsive and carried practically no shooters.  Seriously, play the role of head coach and start making rotation changes that you think would’ve helped this year.  Nothing would’ve made a difference.  James Anderson has no business starting on an NBA roster.  What was Brown going to do though?  Start Hollis Thompson at the two?  Elliot Williams?  Give Jason Richardson a wheel chair and throw him out there?  The 2013-14 76ers was constructed to be a terrible and it’s time to accept it and start looking forward.  It wasn’t about winning this year.  This year was about putting the philosophies in place.  New philosophies take time to get fully integrated and I believe there will be exponential improvement next year.

The rest of Philadunkia nation probably shares that same sentiment.  Next year will be a completely different roster that in theory should be filled with youth and talent.  As far as Coach Brown’s schemes and philosophies go, he will have to teach them all over again to the new guys.  That is why patience will be key in judging both Brown and GM Sam Hinkie’s three to five year process.

So Brown gets an INCOMPLETE as his grade for this year.  However chances are, we will know how to judge the taste of this Sixers “burrito” from a coaching standpoint by midway through next season.


Alex Gorge is a scribe for Philadunkia.  You can follow him on Twitter @apg3000.

You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.


13 Responses to “Grading Brett Brown On This Season”

  1. steve toll
    8. May 2014 at 11:14

    The most important part of coaching, or being a good coach; is coaching a team with good players. BB is one of the worst coaches in the NBA right now. He waited all that time as a Spurs assistant and then picks this JOKE of a franchise.

    If only people realized how much Hinkie failed this year and how much of a fraud his mentor is……… Oh wait, they will soon

  2. johnny
    8. May 2014 at 19:46

    Ouch! That was little harsh. lol

    Mr. Steve patience my son patience. I think he picked a pretty famous franchise with a proud history with a list of alumni second to none. It’s not so much how many titles the 76ers have won but the players who suited up: Wilt, Dr. J, Barkley and A.I.

    The Hinkiemonster has chosen to build and model our franchise like the Rockets, Spurs and Mavericks. I’d say these are pretty shining examples…we all must realize this is such a departure from a typical rebuild. When you look at it as we are going forward introducing four lottery picks and max cap space, he certainly raised my eyebrows. Coach Brown is teaching this fast pace offense…once it’s refined a bit it will be winning basketball, not to mention exciting visual game!

    Granted a lot hinges on his next series of critical moves, but so far so good. jw

  3. Alex
    10. May 2014 at 15:42

    What is the point of making negative and baseless comments that reflects nothing but your negative opinion. You do not provide any useful info or insight, just negative comments that sounds like you are pissed off at this site or Sixers. I suggest you write constructive criticism like what MCW needs to do to be more effective or how BB needs to change his coaching style. BB was an assistant to the best coach who ever was in basketball for 13 years and calling him clueless is just unfair and suggests your basketball knowledge may be very shallow. you insist MCW is not an NBA player, then who is in your opinion and what is the criteria for being an NBA player?

  4. steve toll
    10. May 2014 at 17:58

    who gives a flying #$%@ about the history of the 76ers? I can think of multiple franchises with a list of better alumnus. LOL at insulting Wilt, Dr. J and Barkley by including Iverson with them.

    Stinkie Hinkie has falled massively since he has taken over as the GM. His mentor is a fraud and torpedoed the Rockets title equity by signing D-12 this offseason, when it was obviously a mistake. Saying this team is being built like SAS and DAL is pretty absurd at this point.

    This rebuild is being done by a guy who essentially made the wrong move at every step this past year. LOL at the 4 lottery picks talk. MCW sucks, Noel is going to be a fringe roleplayer at best and Hinkie is a huge underdog to make the right picks in the upcoming drafts. MAX CAP SPACE, OMG OMG OMG. Who is he going to use that on? Seriously.

    Brown and Hinkie will be managing a subway together in the next 3 years, count it

  5. johnny
    12. May 2014 at 18:30

    The one thing that really hurt Allen Iverson career and you can include Vince Carter was when the NBA legalized the ZONE defense in pro ball. They were nearly unstoppable before the implementation of the ZONE, if not for this rule change Iverson’s legacy would have been grander.
    The turn around of the Houston Rocket,s organization has been both swift and impressive…not to mention very difficult in the WEST with all the stiff competition. Their meteoric rise towards the top of the strong western conference was been a fine achievement in my humble opinion. By all accounts the Houston Rockets are on solid ground and will be a constant for years to come. All and all we should be so lucky.
    I also like what Coach Brown and the Hinkiemonster have done by adding our D-league team the 87ers, enabling us to stash young talent there. No doubt we will be happy in time with the choice of Coach Brown, him being around Coach Popp for so long may be the best mentor of all. Coach Popp apparently has ties to the Air Force Academy Basketball Team, when you graduate from Colorado’s Air Force Academy you receive a degree in SCIENCE…so yah I’d say he’s pretty sharp.
    Cannot wait till the draft and our next series moves. jw

  6. Carl
    13. May 2014 at 12:39

    Steve Toll from 3 Months ago:

    “Dwight is the best player in the most important position in basketball and he’s 28 years old. If you don’t believe in Dwight as a player, take a look at what’s happened the last couple years on the two teams he has departed and the two teams he has joined.”


    Steve Toll 5/10/2014:

    “His mentor is a fraud and torpedoed the Rockets title equity by signing D-12 this offseason, when it was obviously a mistake”

  7. steve toll
    14. May 2014 at 15:16

    Your acting as though my comments are mutually exclusive. They are not, you’re just an idiot. HOU already had a very good C in Omer Asik. The Rockets would have been much better off signing/trading for a combo of ROLO, Millsap, Carroll, Vasquez this off-season.

    You don’t have a clue about team building and trying to goad me while being wrong is HILARIOUS.

  8. Carl
    14. May 2014 at 16:29

    Hey y’all who is pumped to see Sam Hinkie and his huge brain and amazing eye for talent draft the ROY two years in a row? I bet the rest of the league wishes they had someone smart enough to have drafted MCW. We already got the future best PG and the most forward thinking organization in the league! I’m so glad we ditched the whole “gather up a mediocre group of players and try to sign a big name” strategy. Now we just gotta draft well and Hinkie and Brown will easily be the best coach/GM combo in the league. It’s gonna be a real treat!

  9. steve toll
    14. May 2014 at 19:43

    The future best pg? Most forward thinking organization in the league? The team has signed one big name free agent in the last ~30 years. Where do you get your info?

    Brown was the #3 coach on the Spurs last year andSam Hinkie turned a 34 win team in a 19 win team. Let’s hold off on the parade down broad street

  10. Chris H.
    15. May 2014 at 11:12

    Steve, would you be able to answer two questions for me?
    1) as much as you hated Holiday and he wound up being replaced by the #6 pick and MCW, which you have expressed how you felt about the picks, who would you have chosen in the draft last year (try not using revisionist history too much)?
    2) say the sixers get the #2 pick (I know hard with a lottery system) and maintain the #10 pick, who would you take? I only ask because you obvioulsy think that Hinkie is horrible as a GM and evaluator of talent. So who would you pick or what would you do (possibly trade) in this year’s draft?

  11. steve toll
    15. May 2014 at 14:04

    Steven Adams at #6 and traded out at MCWs pick.

    Noel took very long to heal and knee injuries to guys that size are more often than not, doomsday type injuries. We are still owed a conditional pick which may be something and it may be nothing.

    Embiid and Kyle Anderson

    I must admit, college bball makes my eyes bleed and I watched less than 2 hours of it this year.

    Hinkie did a terrible job this year, it’s not even up for debate. It’s obviously a fluid evaluation but my god its been a dumpster fire so far.

  12. johnny W
    18. May 2014 at 00:40

    I think we all agree the Hinkiemonster held on to the best player from the Doug Collins era (THAD). Mr Steve you even said you preferred THAD over All Star Jrue Holiday last year and that turned out to be profoundly correct. Steve Adams didn’t even receive votes for ROY? Although I do like his feisty play personally. I just don’t see any mistakes the Hinkiemonster has made so far?

    What’s wrong with winning 50 games a season every year if your the Houston Rockets. lol Sounds like fun to me…I’d take it in a heartbeat. Eventually all smart organizations will be forced to build this way…lots of draft picks and youth will be the way of the future.

    The only reason Noel Norlens didn’t play towards the end of the season was to create more DRAMA and excitement for next season like it or not. Noel is healthy ready to go.

    Come on Draft Lottery! jw

  13. steve toll
    23. May 2014 at 16:17

    Obviously, I liked Thad > Jrue.

    Hinkie messed up with the 2013 draft (LOL at MCW+Noel), hiring Brett Brown, the Hawes + ET trades and not trading THAD.

    The Rockets should have gotten Robin Lopez, Greivis Vasquez, Paul Millsap and Demarre Carroll instead of Dwight Howard. Signing Dwight RUINED any title equity that the Rockets had. Let’s also remember that Morey picked Lin > Dragic and signed Lin+Asik to deals that he couldn’t trade when he needed to OR he was too stupid and didnt trade them because he wanted “value”

    BEING A GOOD GM ISN’T ABOUT STEALING FROM IDIOTS, its about the little things

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