On Aug. 14, 2013, the Philadelphia 76ers hired former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown as the new head coach. For many Sixers fans, the hiring of Brown was a breath of fresh air from the stench of the Doug Collins era.
“You get excited. You get excited to be part of the rebuild,” said Brown at his introductory press conference (h/t ESPN).”We all know the pain of rebuilding is real. We’ll all experience. It will not happen quickly. There needs to be a tolerance, there needs to be a patience.”
For the organization, however, it was step one of ‘The Process.’ Fast forward almost five years later through front office and numerous player changes, only one constant still remains: Brett Brown.
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Brown weathered his fair share of adversity in the early years. He dealt with a revolving door of fringe NBA players, a Rookie of the Year point guard who could not shoot in Michael Carter-Williams, top draft picks getting hurt and still managed to put a team on the floor every night.
Some of those teams were just bad but Brown coached them up on a nightly basis. That patience and development ultimately paid off this season in the form of a playoff series win and now a new contract.
On Tuesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers and Brown reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension. The extension keeps Brown with the organization until the 2021-22 season and allows him to see ‘The Process’ through.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo tossed Brown a life raft to reach the shore of an NBA championship; he sees what is on the horizon.
Five years ago we all remembered how much the shambles in which the organization existed. All we knew was that Brown was a Gregg Popovich disciple and we hoped for similar success.
Did he have to be Popovich? No. But what he had to do was establish his own identity as an NBA coach. Brown developed players such as Robert Covington, who was the Rookie of the Year in the NBA G-League and turned him into one of the best defenders in the NBA. T.J. McConnell, who was undrafted and Brown coached him up to be a valuable backup NBA point guard.
Which now leads us to the crown jewels of The Process: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Brown established a program that helped both players reach their potential early and extend their ceiling.
He has cultivated and honed their talent to maximize their productivity. Simmons and Embiid’s progress has made the Sixers an attractive destination for free agents. Hopefully attractive enough to recruit the star power and contend for an NBA title.
Five years is a short turnaround time to lead a team from the basement to the playoffs. It is time consuming and not for the faint of heart, but Brown showed his mettle. His perseverance was rewarded with a contract extension.
This time, the Sixers got it right with a head coach and let’s see if he can bring home an NBA championship.