Philadelphia 76ers: The trade deadline will decide Brett Brown’s future

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

With less than 12 hours to make a move, the trade deadline could ultimately make or break Brett Brown’s future with the Philadelphia 76ers moving forward.

#FireBrettBrown may be the most popular hashtag in the City of Brotherly Love.

Since going all-in on the 2019-20 season, pushing all of their assets of value to the center of the table in the process, the Philadelphia 76ers have built a big team that can beat the Milwaukee Bucks (more on that here), all the while struggling to remain competitive against even the most average of road opponents.

If it all works out in the end, Elton Brand will be heralded a hero, but if things stall out and the Sixers aren’t gearing up for an NBA Finals bout, Brett Brown may be looking for a new job.

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Is that a tad binary? Maybe so, but between the hail of external dissatisfaction, and growing contempt in the locker room, a coaching change may be the first in a series of moves to right this wayward franchise before it capsizes into another extended period of rebuilding.

No pressure right?

While Brown alone is far from the only reason the team has struggled – as one should place a ton of criticism at the feet of the roster’s architect  – he too can’t be absolved of blame because “he didn’t shoot 3-25 from beyond the arc”.

Brown’s sets have been confusing, he still doesn’t know how to play Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Al Horford together some 50 games into the season, and there was a solid month last fall where he couldn’t figure out how to beat zone coverage.

Sure, the development of players like Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, Norvel Pelle, and Matisse Thybulle has been encouraging, but how much of that is on Brown’s shoulders? How much will that even matter in June?

For better or worse, Brown’s future will be decided over the next four months, and even that may not matter. Barring a complete reversal of fate, a winning percentage in the 70s down the stretch, and some lucky breaks in the playoffs, the 76ers’ road to the finals is beyond treacherous.

Needless to say, Brown should do everything in his power to make sure he has what he needs on the 15 man roster to fight for his life.

Even though Brown technically isn’t in charge of player personnel anymore, and has to make the most of the players Brand gifts him at the start of the season, his six-plus years with the organization has to have some sway, right? If Brown truly believes that he can’t earn a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference Finals with Horford at the four, or without a legit point guard on the roster, he has to at least express his concerns before it’s too late, right?

I mean this is a man who lost 254 games over a four-year stretch and earned a contract extension at the end of it – clearly, he knows how to play the game.

Is Brett Brown ultimately the man who will take this team back to the promised land, and add a second championship patch to my Mitchell and Ness Philadelphia 76ers jacket? For argument’s sake, let’s say no, but do you really think another coach, even Philly’s favorite adoptive son Jay Wright, could do better with this current roster? Committing an average of $28 million a season to each player in a starting five can certainly help to build a viable championship contender, but when those players don’t really gel well on or off the court, there really isn’t a plan-b.

Next. Beat the Bucks philosophy is woefully flawed. dark

Maybe outside pundits had it right all along and this Philadelphia 76ers’ squad can’t win it all as presently constructed. Maybe they will eventually have to decide between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and ship the other to gather better fitting pieces. Maybe 2018-19 was this team’s high watermark, and the eventual ‘Trust the Process’ 30 for 30 will end in tragedy. But if I’m Brett Brown, I’m fighting for one last substantive trade so I can at least go down swinging in the playoffs. To quote another Philly head coach long since forgotten “We’re from Philly and we fight”.