Philadelphia 76ers: Brett Brown has earned a longer leash

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers were extremely active at the trade deadline, signaling a fresh win-now approach in Philly, but could this put Coach Brett Brown’s job at risk later on?

Brett Brown soldiered through a lot his first few seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, which consisted of three sub 20-win seasons that marred his coaching record and muddied the blame for the Philadelphia 76ers struggles.

Is Brown right for the job? Does the former San Antonio Spurs assistant just need ‘his guys’ in order to succeed?

Now that the dreadful losing seasons are only a memory, Brown is left with a 162-303 record all-time as a head coach, which doesn’t really show the dramatic improvement the past two seasons by the Sixers.

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However, Elton Brand recently stocked the Sixers with talented pieces that could lead to an NBA championship sooner rather than later.

In one of his recent pressers, Brand made the organization’s plan for this season and beyond crystal clear by claiming, “The window is now, our opportunity is now.”

Does this leave Brown as the scapegoat if Philly fails to make the NBA finals? Well, his competition should play a major factor since the Sixers weren’t the only elite Eastern Conference team to drop the hammer at the NBA trade deadline.

The East leading Milwaukee Bucks added sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic to their loaded 41-14 roster. Mirotic is shooting a career-high 44.7 percent from the field this season, while pouring in 16.7 points per game to go along with 8.3 rebounds.

As for the No. 2 seed at the moment, the Toronto Raptors, put together a package to acquire three-time All-Star center Marc Gasol, making the team an even strong contender in the conference.

Even the Indiana Pacers, who lost their star Victor Oladipo to a season-ending injury, signed guard Wesley Matthews to a deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. Presumably, this move makes Indiana more of a pest come playoff time than thought.

Therefore, the East is no cake-walk, and the trade deadline solidified that. If Brown doesn’t find himself four wins away from a title this season, this shouldn’t be a reason to cut the cord.

Competition, however, is a natural byproduct of sports. Thus, it cannot be the sole reason Brown gets some extra time with the Sixers.

Personality wise, Brown seems to be the perfect man to handle the massive scale of characters the Sixers have on their roster.

Brown hails from Gregg Popovich, one of the most seasoned and respected head coaches in the NBA. Brown’s only other NBA coaching experience came as an assistant under Popovich from the 2004-13 season.

Undoubtedly, Brown’s experience as an assistant in San Antonio must play a large factor in his coaching ability, and you can see that in this interview from ESPN in January. Brown addressed reports of a conflict between himself and Jimmy Butler.

“We did have a meeting, and we have many meetings…I have had many meetings with Jimmy over the duration since I have coached him,” Brown said.

To me, this seems like a head coach who is diffusing a situation that could’ve turned volatile, a move a veteran head coach would likely play.

In my opinion, it’s classic Popovich. It screams of a head coach who knows how to handle his discussions with players behind closed doors with dignity.

However, don’t let the grey beard fool you. Brown has a youthfulness to him that balances out well with the Popovich-esque traits he carries.

For example, later in the interview, Brown says, “If it were (an aggressive disagreement), I would own it, I would talk about it.”

Brown appears to be the perfect storm, as he comes from one of the most seasoned and respected coaches in NBA history, yet he is young enough in his NBA head coaching career to still adapt in his ways and “own” any reported criticism that comes his way.

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Brown is articulate, bright and quite observant. In a locker room checkered with intense vets, young stars and new faces, his coaching style may be just what these Sixers need right now to compete for a championship.