By Peter Gleason
Sixers coach Brett Brown met with the media yesterday after his second season in town, and surprise, surprise, it was an overmatch.
Brown was open and honest, which has become his calling-card, and the press was astonished that Philly fans haven’t hanged the coach in effigy after 19- and 18-win seasons.
Our hanged him for real.
Two years ago, the Sixers hired Brown to be their coach and Sam Hinkie to be their general manager. Since then, the team has combined to go 37-127 in two seasons under the new regime, but amazingly—in a rugged, demanding sports town like Philly—fans aren’t angry.
In fact, the majority of Philly has bought into the process and fans are displaying an unprecedented sense of patience with their basketball team.
“It really is a strange—I don’t want to say fan base—but a fan reaction,” Sixers beat writer Bob Cooney told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Thursday morning. “You don’t anticipate Philadelphia fans being patient. I’m amazed at the patience that fans have shown with the 76ers. It just amazes me. The emails, the tweets that I get from fans saying that they’re on board with this.”
Earth to Cooney and Cataldi:
Sixers fans are way ahead of you stooges, and they appreciate a real coach building a team that one day they can be proud of.
Brown, who was an assistant coach and director of player development with the San Antonio Spurs for 12 years prior to joining the Sixers, is astonished by the patience and passion of Philly.
“Yesterday I’m running around—I take a run before every one of my games,” Brown said on Thursday. “Five people stopped me, one drove alongside for probably three or four hundred yards telling me kind of how to coach and who we should draft. I pass a bunch of school kids that want to know, ‘You drafting so and so in the first round?’ People saying that they’re with you. I’m kind of floored at how great this city’s been when you go to the supermarket, or you go for a run. We get that difference between patience and tolerance, but today I—we thank them.
“I speak to the season ticket holders before every single game that I’ve coached here and it’s part of my job,” Brown said. “I enjoy it. It’s the true beat on the street, you get a pulse of the city.”
The Sixers closed out their season Wednesday night with a home loss to the Miami Heat finishing 18-64, third worst in the NBA. Unfortunately, the Sixers received some bad luck too, as the Knicks and Magic both lost in their respective season finales, decreasing the Sixers’ chances for a potential extra first-round pick or two via the Heat and Lakers.
Worst-case senario: The Sixers will have a top-six pick in 2015, plus they’ll add the services of center Joel Embiid who has everyone salivating.
Immediately following the Sixers’ 105-101 loss on Wednesday, Brown said, “Winning will be important next season.”
Still, the South Portland, Maine native isn’t ready to quantify anything just yet.
“I’m not too sure, but I feel like we’re moving in the direction I said we would,” Brown told the media Thursday. “Nothing is built is easy. If we’re all real and you understand how do you do anything well, and not much happens quickly, I hope they see that too. I will say this, we appreciate this city.”