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Fastbreak: Coach Brown's First Week on the Job

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: August 21, 2013

One week after being named the 24th head coach in Sixers franchise history, Brett Brown went on the 94.1 WIP Morning Show to talk about his experience so far and his vision for the team moving forward. Speaking for just under 15 minutes, the 52-year-old former Spurs assistant touched on a number of topics, including what he’s tried to accomplish in his first week on the job, his approach to analytics, and his familiarity with the Sixers from his time in San Antonio.

“My first call (after accepting the job) was to our strength and conditioning coach (Jesse Wright),” Brown told WIP. “We discussed, in a very serious way, my philosophy in regards to fitness, and the importance we’re going to place on [our players’] health.

“I reached out to our players, too, and we’ve [told] everybody that we want a career-best (level of) fitness. We aspire to have everyone in their career-best shape.”

With both Brown and General Manager Sam Hinkie having expressed a commitment to an increased offensive tempo next season (the Sixers’ 93.3 possessions per game last season ranked 22nd in the league), the emphasis on physical fitness makes sense.

“One of the main things we’re going to look at is pace,” Brown said at his introductory press conference last week. “But it’s easy to say that. You’ll get 30 coaches in the league who’ll say the same thing. It’s hard running over 82 games, and you really can’t do that unless you have an extraordinary fitness base.”

But fitness and pace are not the only areas in which Brown and Hinkie see eye to eye. When asked Wednesday about his approach to analytics in basketball, the new head coach responded in much the same way the team’s new General Manager has over the past several months. 

“I want to know what [Hinkie] knows, in regard to analytics, and [be] able to take that side of sports and apply it to how you really think the game should be played prioritized,” he said. “I feel like you have to make decisions with the numbers, not by the numbers. 

“I, in many ways, have hitched my cart to Sam Hinkie... I feel like he can make me a better coach.” 

With just over a month remaining until the Sixers open training camp, Brown has a lot on his plate, including hiring bench assistants and development coaches for his staff, revamping the Sixers’ film room, and getting an intimate feel for the team’s roster. Luckily, he has a head start.

“[During my time with San Antonio], we split the league into thirds [in terms of scouting opponents],” he said. “Philadelphia, by coincidence, happened to be my team for the past six or seven years.”

During that time, one Sixer in particular consistently stood out.

“Thaddeus [Young] was always one of those guys you thought you’d like to steal and bring to San Antonio,” he said of the seventh-year forward and lifelong Sixer. “His versatility – is he four-man? Is he a three man? Can he guard power forwards? Can he guard LeBron [James]? I feel like he just does an awful lot.”

Grantland Ranks “Sixers” One of League’s Top Nicknames

This week, Grantland’s Zach Lowe unveiled his Definitive Guide to NBA Team Names, ranking them based on categories such as historical significance, the use of alliteration, and “whatever [he] felt like.” 

The Philadelphia 76ers, according to Lowe, have the league’s second-best identity, falling just shy of the Lewis and Clark-inspired Portland Trail Blazers. Here’s what he had to say about the Sixers’ moniker:

What a magical nickname — a combination of numbers and letters that sounds so nice, with all those "S" sounds. It carries a shorthand in "Sixers" that is just as good, evokes the city's monumental place in U.S. history, and stands out as one of the great creative nicknames in sports.

The name is obviously a reference to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776, an event worth loud and proud commemoration, and "Seventy-Sixer" has the Knickerbocker effect of working as a shorthand for people from Philadelphia. Most major highways that run through and around the city include the number "76," the Liberty Bell is there, the Founders signed the Constitution there, and the city served as the nation's capital at times during and after the American Revolution. 

In other words: Go crazy with the kick-ass historical references, Philly. You deserve it. The inherent patriotism of the name has allowed the Sixers to play with red, white, and blue color schemes and to toss some flag elements into their logo designs. The minimalist white basketball with blue trim, a red "7," and a circle consisting of 13 stars (for the original 13 colonies) is high basketball art.

The Sixers, though, were not always the Sixers. Before moving to Philadelphia in 1963, the team was based in Syracuse, New York and was called the Nationals. With the exception of 12 seasons (1997-2009) in which the team used their golden, “Iverson Era” swooshing ball logo, the team’s logo has remained largely unaltered since ’63.