The hot seat under 76er’s coach Brett Brown has never been hotter. Members of the media and fans alike have speculated for most of the 2019-20 NBA season that this season would be Brown’s last if he couldn’t produce at least a very deep playoff run. Now, after being swept out of the first round by a Boston team they went 3-1 against in the regular season, the calls for his job are only going to get louder. Word from within the organization is that Brown has no internal momentum to return as head coach next season, and a move could come soon. And it should; this year’s Philadelphia 76ers team has to be the most disappointing team in at least the last decade.
Despite 76er’s management’s best efforts to mess everything up, the process worked and this team should be competing for championships every year. They have two all-world talents and physical freaks of nature in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Sure, Simmons was hurt for the playoffs, but this team underwhelmed all season. We haven’t even discussed the ill-fitting pieces Philly added around them in Tobias Harris and Al Horford. A team built around four guys who are all deserving of at least close to max contracts should not be 6th in the weaker Eastern Conference and they certainly shouldn’t be getting swept by anyone.
Sometimes a good coaches voice just gets stale in the locker room and players stop responding to their methods. Nothing made this more apparent than in the final minutes of their game four loss to the Celtics, when Brown tried to pull Embiid off the court in the 4th quarter after he picked up his fifth foul and Embiid waved him off and stayed on the court. There is no fixing things when that happens; you either blow up the team or you fire the coach. I think Philadelphia sides with their star tandem and tries to find them a new leader who can figure out the best way to maximize their immense talent on the court. Embiid and Simmons aren’t going anywhere and Horford and Harris are too expensive to move so Brett Brown looks like the odd man out and for good reason.
His in-game adjustments are head-scratching at best, and often in games there are long stretches of play with no urgency and a lack of identity on offense. This team was almost unbeatable at home this season, and nearly win less on the road. That’s the sign of a team that lacks mental toughness, something that can be blamed more often than not on the man in charge. If they plan on firing him they need to do it now and get in on the yearly coaching carousel as early as they can.
New Orleans, Brooklyn and Chicago all have a head start looking for their next leading man, and Philadelphia can’t afford to wait. They don’t want to miss out on a chance to hire the big name candidates like Jason Kidd or Tyronn Lue. They need to start the search now, but that doesn’t mean they should rush to make a hire. Whoever gets the job needs to be someone with a clear vision on how to best utilize Embiid and Simmons and it needs to be a tough minded coach who his players can emulate on the court. Philadelphia has to immediately be at or near the top of the list of best available coaching situations. This is a team that was a Kawhi Leonard game winning prayer from the Eastern Conference Finals last season and they could easily be in contention again with the right man at the helm.
Obviously something in Philadelphia has got to give, and it doesn’t make sense to move either piece of a duo that was hailed early on as the next Shaq and Kobe. Brett Brown has failed to win with one of the most talented lineups in the NBA, his team looked awful in the playoffs and changes should be coming soon in Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
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