Brett Brown: ‘It Was a Season of Distraction' for Sixers

Brett Brown called them speed bumps. At times they seemed like cavernous potholes.

In spite of finishing 10-72, the Sixers' biggest concerns this season weren't always wins and losses. There was enough going on off the court that maneuvering those issues could have been a job in itself.

"It was a season of distraction, I concede that," Brown said Thursday at his end of the season press conference. "You would not be telling the truth if every moment of your awake day was dedicated to where it should have been coaching basketball. There were many times that you do get pulled to the left or the right."

Brown already had plenty on his plate with managing one of the youngest teams and a myriad of positional uncertainties within the roster. But from as early as November, Brown was tasked with handling non-game situations.

Rookie Jahil Okafor, who was 19 at the time, was part of a series of legal problems, which included a physical altercation outside of a Boston nightclub, having a gun pointed at him outside an Old City nightclub and being pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge for driving 108 mph.

As these reports unfolded, former general manager and president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie did not address the media. Instead, Brown spoke on the incidents. Looking back, Brown said he actually did not mind being at the forefront of the questions.

"Sometimes I think Sam unfairly was criticized for putting me out there," he said. "It's not true. I never resented that. … I, in many ways, wanted the responsibility because I knew what I wanted to say. I felt like I could say it best."

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That would not be the only time one of the Sixers was linked to legal issues. This month, TMZ reported Nerlens Noel was being sued for allegedly trashing a former rental home. The owners are asking for more than $75,000 for repairs and the removal of a tombstone placed on the property that read "RIP," which the owners believe was left as a death threat.

These incidents are more than enough for a team in a single season. Yet on top of that, Brown also coached through significant front office changes. In December, the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations and special advisor. As the team worked toward making additions to the front office, Hinkie abruptly resigned, and Bryan Colangelo was named president of basketball operations with only a week left in the season.

Throw in a laundry list of injuries, which included Okafor's season-ending surgery in late March to repair a torn meniscus, and Brown also finagled 37 different starting lineups.

Brown's title remained the same throughout the season, but the reality of his job duties went far beyond "head coach."

"I just do know that it wasn't at all a smooth year," Brown said. "With most programs, a speed bump would equal your best player goes out for three weeks because of an injury or you're on a five-game losing streak or maybe there's a problem where somebody wants to play more and you just don't think they should be playing more. Those are the speedbumps that exist in normal teams in normal coaching situations where you're the head coach.

"This season wasn't that for me personally."

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