The most inevitable news floating in NBA circles has come to fruition today as Brett Brown was fired by the Phlaldelphia 76ers. It was an unceremonious ending for Brown after 7 seasons with the team. Or, for a guy who was brought in while the franchise was purposely losing, maybe getting swept out in the first round was a very ceremonious ending. Nevertheless, Brown is gone. But this cannot and should be, the only tidal wave of change to hit the team this offseason. The Sixers problems didn’t start with Brett Brown, and they certainly don’t end with him being fired.
Coach Brown certainly had his faults and the time had come for him to leave. His voice had gotten stale, much like Andy Reid at the end of his tenure. During his time running the Sixers, Brown’s team faltered down the stretch of games year after year. They couldn’t handle simple things like late game awareness and pick and roll defense.
This is where the criticism for Brett Brown ends.
There is a much greater force in play here that deserves our vitriol and our focus. This front office should be completely embarrassed by their irresponsible and flat out dumbfounding decision making over the past three years.
The Philadelphia 76ers have lost on every SINGLE move they have made since Sam Hinkie left this organization. They put themselves at the salary cap ceiling. They stopped valuing draft picks and they obliterated any optionality or flexibility they may need to grow in the future. They chased away players the team’s star players gelled with on and off the court. They became so obsessed with star hunting, they ignored growing organically and talked themselves into players who shouldn’t have been valued as “stars”.
It could have been Gregg Poppovich or Rick Carlisle coaching that roster this year, they were never going to be championship contenders. There isn’t a single coach that could have walked through that door and atoned for the gluttony of mistakes this front office has made. Not a single great basketball mind can make a contract for Al Horford to the tune of $109M worth it. There is no one who can pick up the pieces of the Markelle Fultz trade. No coach wants to see Landry Shamet, a pure and inexpensive shooter, shipped off as a throw –in, in a “blockbuster” trade. Tobias Harris is currently on his fifth team which means literally AT LEAST five coaches have tried to get him to advance his game to an elite level, and all five have failed. The Sixers gave him a max contract anyways.
The biggest question is, why should we trust this front office as it’s currently structured to make the right decision on the next head coach? The front office executives within this organization have proven not only to be bad at decision making but not really even good people.
Brett Brown really shielded them from a lot of blame that could have gone their way. As much I supported the Hinkie vision process, it was Brown who had to face the media after every painstaking loss. When Markelle Fultz forgot how to shoot, it was Brown who had to defend Bryan Colangelo’s pick. And when Colangelo’s wife started tweeting her tirades that got her husband fired, it was Brown had to step in and play GM. Brett Brown certainly had his faults, but there were also countless times where he steadied the ship. How the front office treated him on his way out the door after everything he did for this franchise tells you everything you need to know about them as people.
Many players during the Brett Brown era have preached a lack of accountability within the Wells Fargo Center walls. You want to talk about accountability? A bunch of front office executives just spent the entire weekend leaking rumors to the press in order to turn Brown into a scapegoat for all the teams problems including the roster construction. If you’re worried about a lack of accountability with this team, start at the fucking top. They got every decision wrong for three years and then blamed the guy on his way out to save their own jobs. I remember Jimmy Butler going on JJ Redick’s podcast and stating one of the reasons he left Philadelphia is because he would come into the building and “not know who the fuck was in charge”. I think about that quote quite often during times like this.
If you go to a restaurant and your meal tastes awful, you probably blame the chef who made it. But what if the restaurant isn’t providing the chef with the ingredients necessary to make a proper meal? Change this offseason can’t start and end with Brett Brown. Because if it does, there will just be another chef left with shit ingredients, trying to cook a disgusting meal.