Brown wants Sixers to soak up Spurs' winning atmosphere

Posted: March 27, 2014

SAN ANTONIO - Beyond having his family nearby, 76ers coach Brett Brown had another reason for keeping his team in San Antonio for a couple of extra days between games. This town is a place for his current club to learn. He wants the success of the San Antonio program to rub off on them. He wants them to absorb all the winning attitude that emanates from the AT&T Center, where the four championship banners hang, banners collected while Brown was an assistant coach with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich.

During their 25th straight loss on Monday, a 113-91 win by the Spurs, the players got to witness the success firsthand. They saw the Spurs deal 31 assists on their 44 made baskets, a dizzying offensive display coordinated without All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who was out with a sore Achilles' tendon.

Brown hopes his team learned how a team with superstars such as Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili can play the game without superstar egos, all orchestrated by Popovich.

"It is difficult, but I think that's where 'Pop' shines," Brown said of the Spurs' ability to change their game style from year to year. "From Day 1, we've talked about good to great, not playing in a crowd, playing with each other, how do you coexist. The history of their program has been interesting to me, because you see a stage where you go from a post-up team with David [Robinson] and Timmy, to a program that allowed Manu to be Manu and attack, and then a pick-and-roll team with Tony. Now it's a hybrid of Euro ball and all the things that I've just said, where it's free-flowing, dangerous, where do you pick your poison, as to where do you try to stop them on offense.

"The common denominator over the years are those three great players, the best coach of the game, a general manager that continually fills holes and makes the correct moves at dangerous times. Trading George Hill for Kawhi [Leonard]. Do you re-sign Hedo [Turkoglu]? What do you do with Stephen Jackson? When do you cut bait with a first-round pick that you have a gut feel is not going to make it? People sometimes feel anchored to those picks, a prisoner to those picks. For all those reasons, that's enabled them to stay on top of the food chain for a decade-plus."

And behind it all is Popovich, the seemingly surly head coach who can't rave enough about Brown when asked. There is no doubt in his mind that Brown is the right man to turn things around in Philadelphia. And Brown certainly has taken every bit of coaching philosophy he could from the man he worked under for 12 seasons.

"Pop is like a rigid, flexible contradiction, because he's the best at taking a team and saying, this is the strength of this team, and what's going on in Europe, and how's the Parker kid and Ginobili?" Brown said.

"Look at it, it's the United Nations. They have [players from] Canada, France, Brazil, Argentina and Italy and Australia. You go all over the place, from pick-and-roll to post-ups, and he just embraces the style of the way the game is going, as it relates to his particular team, and they just become a nightmare to try and figure out how to guard them. He's highly intelligent, he manipulates as he should, and I think this team is an example of all of that."

Six shots

Brett Brown said no decision had been made yet as to the future of James Nunnally, whose 10-day contract expires today . . . Brown said that while the Sixers had a tough practice yesterday, it was a day to take care of the bodies of Thaddeus Young, Michael Carter-Williams and James Anderson . . . The Sixers will practice in San Antonio again today, then fly to Houston where they'll meet the Rockets tomorrow.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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