Judging Sixers coach Brown

Posted: April 15, 2014

IN THIS YEAR of evaluation, 76ers coach Brett Brown has been busy doing just that, what with 23 players now having played for him this season.

But while he, his staff and general manager Sam Hinkie will sit down after the season and discuss the potential future of all those who put on a Sixers uniform this season, Brown has already done some evaluating of his own - of himself.

Though he had been an assistant in San Antonio for a dozen ridiculously successful seasons before taking his first head-coaching job in the NBA here in August, being in charge isn't something that's new to Brown. He coached for 17 years in Australia, in the world championships and in the Olympic Games. But being at the helm in the greatest league in the world is something totally different than he has ever experienced. So now that he has 80 games under his belt and his first season will come to an end on Wednesday in Miami, the always-energetic coach can allow himself some time for a little self-evaluation.

Saturday's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats was the fourth in a row for the Sixers and dropped them to 17-63. And while those numbers are horrible, it's pretty much what the coach expected in his first season; it was made perfectly clear to him that he was in charge of a total rebuild. To try to gauge what type of coach he is purely off the record is like trying to determine what type of golfer someone is by only seeing them putt. It simply isn't fair to judge Brown with what little ammunition he had on a daily basis.

The standard by which to judge Brown will be the improvement next season by the young players he groomed this year, such as Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, James Anderson, Hollis Thompson and, to an extent, Nerlens Noel, provided they are all back.

Asked if coaching in the NBA was a lot different for him, Brown said, "Not really. I was a head coach for 17 years. Admittedly it's at different levels, but it's really the same anxieties and process. The attention and the media is probably the separator, but how you go about your job really doesn't change, whether it's the Olympic Games or coaching [a regular-season NBA game].

"The thing that stands out most to me now is that you're really looking for carry-over. You're really looking to see a body of work that the year has produced where teams and players can show improvement and continue development. That part of this year and that part of that philosophy stands out most to me now.

"Me and our coaching staff, we're on a mission to end with our heads high, to end improving, to end fighting, to continue to try and gain respect."

The Sixers will look to do it tonight against the visiting Boston Celtics and then again during the season-ender against the Heat. His team will play hard. Brown will coach each and every offensive and defensive possession as if it were the seventh game of the NBA Finals, which is where he was last year on Gregg Popovich's staff with the Spurs. It's the only way he knows how to coach. It's the only way he thinks his players should play.

If they do that these final two games - play as hard for these final 96 minutes as if they were the first 96 minutes of the season - then Brown can honestly give himself a good mark for his initial coaching season.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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