Brand Making Media Rounds
Over the past two months, Elton Brand has been balancing a lot.
From tending to his duties as General Manager of an NBA team on hiatus, to making time for his family while working from home, the former All-Star had many insights to share while making some media rounds to start the week.
Here’s some of what he said…
While Brand - like fans around the world - is eager to see sports make a return, his top priority is the safety and well being of the community.
“It’s bigger than sports, it’s bigger than basketball. [You] just try to relate to everything from a human level - what do you need as a human, as a person? What can we do to make your transition with all this as easy as possible? And then on the other side, as a fan, I’m chomping at the bit to figure out a way to have some semblance of sports, of our season, and the team we put together competing. I look forward to the day when... it’s deemed safe for us to do that.”
In an interview on The BroadCast podcast, Brand assessed the state of the 76ers when the NBA's hiatus began in early March.
“We were putting the pieces together… “We knew we needed to get our players healthy down the stretch. We had some really good games, we proved that we could beat anybody. So this home stretch was going to be about that - just getting everybody healthy. We said it all season long - we’re built for the playoffs. So I was looking forward to actually seeing what that would look like.”
Reflecting on individual performances this season, Brand expressed his pride for Ben Simmons’ growth and intensity, particularly on the defensive end.
“Brett [Brown] and I, we were talking about pre-All Star break, and the game against the Clippers game at home. The defense [Simmons] played against Kawhi [Leonard], and that level of intensity, that was high-level...playoff [style] basketball.”
Brand was also pleased with Joel Embiid’s performance when the hiatus began - notching a 30-point, 14-rebound game against the Pistons in his return to play:
“He was at that stage where you don’t bet against Joel Embiid. He was at that lock in, focus - that’s special. He’s so talented, and what he brings to our team, and to our court - that’s what makes us a real competitor, and contender, in my opinion.”
Brand added that he knows the Sixers are eager to return and to reunite as a team, on and off the court.
“They truly miss just playing. They miss the locker room, they miss each other. They miss the fans. They miss everything that basketball afforded them. That’s their bond, they’re staying tight that way.”
Despite keeping a full schedule of web meetings with his staff, players, fellow General Managers, and the league office, Brand has also made it a priority to spend time with his family.
“After traveling for 20 years as an NBA player and as an executive, I didn’t have the time to take a break, and go bike riding with my kids, spend time with my daughter and read her a book, or play a game with my son, spend time with my wife - just expressing gratitude for what we have, and just being thankful. I’m intentionally trying to create some good memories. We spend time around the fire pit. If it’s not a school night, we try to stay out and look at the stars.”
While May is usually a month dedicated to playoffs and the draft, Brand and the front office are taking their draft preparations digital in the absence of in-person workouts and interviews.
“I’ve spoken to parents, I’ve spoken to agents. The draft is a multi-year thing, it’s a build up. Draft night is the culmination of that. It’s much different interviewing someone on Zoom, and not having them come to the court for a workout… We think this is a deep draft. I’m excited... There might be players who could help us right now, but we're going to look at the full scope."
No matter what the coming months bring, Brand says the 76ers will be ready to meet the challenges ahead:
"If it’s regular season, if it’s playoffs, we’ll be prepared. I’m very hopeful that this season will resume so we can get back out there and compete. But of course, that’s once it’s deemed safe.”
Check back to Sixers.com for updates from the team as the hiatus continues.