A brief look at the history of Brett Brown, ‘The Process’, and why the Philadelphia 76ers fan base should be thanking their head coach.
Heading into the All-Star Break, the Philadelphia 76ers are currently in the fifth seed at 34-21. The chances of them earning a top seed is fading fast, as they are 12.5 losses behind the first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and six losses behind the second-seeded Toronto Raptors. The Sixers are 25-2 at home, and 9-19 on the road. Obviously, something is wrong, right?
Joel Embiid has struggled to find where he fits in with the Sixers’ new-look lineup. Al Horford has admitted that: “there’s some stuff going on in the locker room”. And Ben Simmons has not attempted a 3 point shot since Brett Brown requested that he: “I want a 3-point shot per game, minimum.”
Here enters the #FireBrettBrown. In recent weeks, social media, petitions, etc. around the Sixers fan base have revolved around the team’s firing of head coach.
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The impatience is understandable. Across preseason rankings, the Sixers were ranked among the top-5 teams in the NBA. And arguably, the Sixers have one of the best starting fives in the NBA. But should the Sixers woes fall upon the head coach?
When the Sixers took the floor on February 6th against the red-hot Bucks, Embiid shot 1-10 from the floor during the first half, and it did not go unnoticed. At halftime, Shaquille O’Neal delivered some harsh criticism to Embiid and the Sixers fan base, stating: “when you go 1 for 10, it ain’t your coaches fault, it ain’t your teammates’ fault, it’s your fault, period.” Sixers fans can discuss among themselves about Shaq’s comments, but maybe his comments shall serve as a wake-up call to the fan base, and locker room.
In the flurry of criticism, national media attention, etc. it may be a better time than ever to reflect on the history of ‘The Process’.
In 2013, the beloved (not at the time) Sam Hinkie, hired Brown to serve as the team’s head coach. This move was made shortly after the Sixers dealt their lone-star Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for first-round pick Nerlens Noel. Thus, tasking Brown with a roster consisting of players such as: James Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, Hollis Thompson, and many more. But Brown weathered the incoming storm, stating, “Can you imagine if we get this thing right? Really. If we can get this right, with the culture and the history that this city has, and the pride and the toughness that this city has, that is very alluring. It’s tempting.”
Jump to the 2014-2015 season – Hinkie and the Sixers add their key piece for the coming future: Joel “the Process” Embiid. While also adding names like Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, Ish Smith, and even former/current Sixer Glenn Robinson III. The Sixers finished with a dismal 18-64 record – one game ahead of the last-place New York Knicks.
As we progress past the dreary 2015-2016 season, we enter 2016-2017, in where the Sixers drafted the 6-foot-10 point guard from LSU – and things started looking up. And in 2018, despite the Markelle Fultz‘s health issues, the Sixers turned everything around – a loss to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but a notable finish at third in the East with a record of 52-30 compared to 14th at 28-54.
The Process will be a piece of Philadelphia’s history for years to come. Obviously, there’s more to talk about, like Dario Saric is never coming over, the Jimmy Butler trade, and Bryan Colangelo, but we’ll save this for another time.
With all this being said, the Sixers fan base has been through a whirlwind of emotions, and Brown has been at the center of it all. He’s been through the process and has encouraged a group of guys (throughout all the changes) that Philadelphia should not be underestimated. And most importantly, he embodies the toughness, grittiness, and the underdog spirit that is Philadelphia and installs it in the Philadelphia 76ers organization.
Credit is due, where credit is due. So thank you, Brett Brown. Thank you for everything you have brought to this team, organization, and city. Ignore the comments, criticism, media attention, etc. and keep coaching this team. You trusted the Process, and now it’s time we trust you. Whatever happens in the offseason will be what it is, but for now, thanks for grinding it out with us the past six seasons. And in the words of you, “Ring that bell, brotha.”