On the Beat | Brown Makes Media Rounds
Like most of us, Brett Brown is adjusting to a new normal.
Brown’s days during the NBA hiatus start with a several-hour long walk with his 16-year-old dog. He then moves to the kitchen, where he’s his family’s primary chef, before he spends hours on Zoom calls with his staff and players, preparing for whatever is to come.
Friday, he caught up with members of the media. Here’s some of what he shared...
Even with over two months away from the court, Brown says his team’s ultimate goal remains the same - and remains within reach.
“It’s dense - this preparation, what do we prioritize with this shrunken-type of season, in order to not use any of this as an excuse. That is the messaging, and the conversations that I have with my staff and our players - that when it’s go time, we gotta go. We are hunting to still contend for a championship. That hasn’t changed.”
With the team’s size and defensive abilities, Brown believes the team’s ceiling remains high:
“I stand by this. I feel like our team is built for the playoffs. I think if you took a ruler, a measuring stick, and you measured us wingspan to wingspan, we are the tallest team in the NBA. I think that we have opportunity to guard because of that length, and spirit, as well as anybody.”
Brown is one of millions of people who have been watching The Last Dance on Sunday nights during the hiatus. He says he likes the idea that he and his team might be inspired by it:
“I’m sure all of us have been following the Jordan documentary. For me personally, it’s provided this vacuum, it’s filled a void, of high-level hoops, the competitive drive, what it really takes to win a championship.”
After Ben Simmons was forced to sit out in the weeks leading up to the suspension of the NBA season with a back injury, Brown says Simmons deserves credit for his tireless effort to come back strong:
“[Ben] is to be praised and applauded in a real way, a significant way. The professionalism and discipline that he has shown, he’s been outstanding. It could be a little bit of a silver lining… just the fact that you actually have a chance to get somebody like Ben - and as important as Ben is - back into our team.”
Brett Brown laid out his ideal vision for how the 76ers could look heading into the playoffs, should the season resume:
"Joel...he is just going rim-to-rim, and the team around him, the teammates around him, understand, how do we help him? How do we get him the ball? Joel will be Joel. If...he’s got that type of attention, and we do a good job of using it the way that we should, he’s the best big man in the NBA and as dominant as they come.”
Brown says finding a new routine has been key to staying positive during quarantine. That routine includes expanding his repertoire in the kitchen, where he recently tackled homemade gnocchi. Using the time at home to bond with his family, Brown has found silver linings:
“For the past seven weeks, part of my own personal approach was trying to find a routine, a rhythm to my day. When you’re in the situation, it’s the same messaging I gave to the team - how do you manage time? And how do you manage this crazy environment that is so uniquely new to all of us?”
His highest hope for his players is that they find the same healthy rhythm in their own lives, so that they can return strong when the time comes:
“The health, the comfortability - do you feel safe? I’m on Zoom calls with my players, and I love looking out and seeing everybody. When you have that forum, one of the questions I ask is, how do you guys feel? Do you feel safe? In the event that we come back and play, how do you feel?”
Brown closed with a message directly to 76ers fans:
“We’re so grateful for the passion and the umph that they give us. They wear their heart on their sleeve. They’re real. They’re on you, and it’s a good thing. We miss our fans. Make no mistake about it - you’re a significant reason that we’ve had the success that we have had. Stay safe and well.”