With the Philadelphia 76ers’ season headed for an utterly predictable ending, the writing is on the wall that this will finally be the end for head coach Brett Brown.
And though the club’s 26-16 record is nothing to sneeze it, a critical midseason look has to be taken at the Sixers. Yes, they’re easily going to make the postseason in an NBA Eastern Conference where seven of the 15 clubs are horrendous. If my math is correct, that leaves eight clubs who range from excellent to “can barely shoot but that’s still good enough”.
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So, congrats to the Sixers for being part of that illustrious group.
What, you were expecting more? You though the 76ers would be leading their division and fighting it out with the Milwaukee Bucks for the conference’s top seed at this point? And you believed that Joel Embiid would be delivering an MVP-type year while staying healthy enough to give the team an excellent chance to win every night? And Ben Simmons would show some kind of development? And the Sixers could at least play .500 ball on the road?
Well, then you’ve been sorely disappointed so far.
Outside of a hot start and then a Christmas Day dismantling of said Bucks, the Sixers haven’t given anyone much to look forward to when the NBA calendar turns to the playoffs. The high expectation of this season (NBA Finals or bust) just doesn’t appear like it’s going to materialize, not for such a flawed team.
The Sixers’ 19-2 home record will mean little if they can’t play well enough away from the Wells Fargo Center to secure home-court advantage for at least the first two rounds. They still have 40 games to turn things around, but it sure is disheartening to be looking up in the standings and see the likes of Boston and Toronto above you.
All of this brings us back around to head man Brett Brown, a coach who seems to have finally hit a wall with this team. In truth, it might be an impossible situation. Maybe nobody could fully “get through” to this roster as currently constructed and turn them into anything more than a second-round playoff team.
If that’s the case, this would sure classify as a tragedy for the Sixers and their fans who milked “The Process” for all that it was worth to arrive at this moment and see that their goal of a title was still light years away. If this season ends the way I’m anticipating it will, with the Sixers failing to even reach the third round, I fully expect the axe to fall on Brown.
Seven years is an eternity in professional sports, even when the team was openly trying to lose during the first few. At this point, 50-ish wins followed by another second-round loss would represent a stagnation. With a lack of better options, such as hitting the reset button on the whole team, Brown’s dismissal is just about the only way this could go.
I’m not saying Brett Brown SHOULD be fired, it just seems logical that it WOULD happen after this kind of season.
Another thing that should give us all pause is the state of the Sixers’ ownership, as Joshua Harris recently showed some major incompetence regarding his other toy: the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Harris fired GM Ray Shero mere weeks after letting Shero dismiss the team’s head coach and then trade away the team’s best player.
Harris may have a mind for business, but he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to sports. And whether he’s fine with Brown staying as coach after this season or not, it will invite questioning either way.
Brett Brown isn’t totally at fault for this (so far) underachieving season, and maybe he has one last trick up his sleeve to get more out of the team. But it seems more and more that the message has fallen on deaf ears and that the team needs someone new calling the shots.
Don’t blame Brett Brown for the breakdown. This is just how the process of sports works.