2015-16 Sixers Evaluation: Head Coach Brett Brown

Over the last few weeks, we have evaluated the Sixers' roster after the 10-72 season.

Now, let's take a look at the head coach. 

Status: Signed a two-year extension through 2018-19 season

Brett Brown in 2015-16
The Sixers won 19 games in Brown's first season. They won 18 games in his second season. In his third season, they finished with just 10 victories and nearly tied a franchise and NBA record for most losses in a year. It was another tough go for Brown.

On the court, Brown was charged with trying to solve a difficult problem: How do you play Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor at the same time? There weren't any easy answers. Okafor's first season featured mixed results. He led the team in scoring and was second among all rookies in that category, but defensively he was often a liability. Noel, meanwhile, increased his points per game and field goal percentage from his rookie year, and his PER jumped from 15 to 16.2. He had a good overall second season. But playing with Okafor meant moving away from the basket, which sometimes prevented Noel from doing what he does best: rim protection. It was a tough task for Brown, one made harder by the team's overarching desire to employ a modern pace-and-space offense.

Off the court, things were even more complicated for Brown. He often doubled as a babysitter and life coach. Between Okafor's legal issues and the front office upheaval, Brown probably spent as much (or more) time talking about/dealing with various Sixers-related calamities as he did coaching basketball. He's the head coach of an NBA team, but his main job was really crisis management.

"It was a season of distraction, I concede that," Brown said. "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."

Philadelphia 76ers

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Will Joel Embiid Play for France or U.S. in 2024 Paris Olympics?

‘It's a Blessing to Be an American': 76ers Star Joel Embiid Now U.S. Citizen

There are only 30 of these jobs in the world. That he signed an extension, given how exclusive the gigs are, makes sense - to a point. It would have been hard to blame him if he let the clock run out on his contract and then fled Philly to take a bench job with a more stable organization in an attempt to reboot his career. He's been asked to deal with quite a lot in three years with the Sixers, and too often those tasks had more to do with drama than basketball.

He's 47-199 as a coach. That's an ugly mark, but it's difficult to judge him on basketball considering the never-ending roster churn, the protracted rebuild, and the latest front office reorganization. Maybe some other great coach could have squeezed a few more wins out of that bunch, but would another coach have handled such bizarre and difficult circumstances with similar aplomb? The man's composure has been remarkable. Which isn't to say that the last three years haven't had an effect on him. You can hear the toll it has taken in every answer he gives after a loss or following the latest off-court catastrophe.

When Joshua Harris introduced Jerry Colangelo and, later, Bryan Colangelo, he said the Sixers were ready to move to the next phase of the rebuild. No one needs that to happen more than Brown. No one has earned it more than him, either.   

On Brett Brown
"I just do know that it wasn't at all a smooth year. 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." - Brett Brown

"I told the ownership Brett Brown is coach of this basketball team going forward." - Bryan Colangelo

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us