Coach Brown Confident as Season Approaches
Brett Brown’s annual media luncheon teemed with anticipation for the season ahead.
And for several good reasons, all of which he addressed Wednesday afternoon during a candid, hour-plus conversation with reporters at the rooftop garden restaurant of a Center City hotel.
Cutting straight to the chase, Brown believes the 2019-20 season will give his 76ers their best chance yet during his seven-year tenure to compete for an NBA championship.
Here's a rundown of some of the major factors why...
Brown’s expectations are high for the team’s potential, on both sides of the ball:
“I know we’re going to play defense. That still rules my day, it’s where my head is centered as my starting point. You hear me talk about Philly edge, hard, and real in this city. I feel comfortable that we’re going to defend, because we can, and it’s how I see the world. I believe we’re going to score, because we have options… I believe we have a championship caliber team.”
Entering his fourth season of NBA competition, Joel Embiid’s ceiling only continues to rise. His head coach has the utmost support for the young All-Star:
“It has been, it is now, and I suspect it will be: Joel Embiid is our crown jewel.”
Brown added that he feels Embiid has grown tremendously in the offseason, and he looks forward to supporting Embiid as his illustrious career continues:
“I feel personally, when I look at Joel, in the position that I’m in now with him after all these years… his legacy is something that I desperately want to do my best to help him leave behind. And that always means a championship or championships, multiple features on All-Star teams, and maybe an MVP, all done with a successful team.”
Brown said the addition of Al Horford to the lineup will have a major impact on the team on and off the court:
“He’s uniquely special. I am excited to have him in our locker room, and I’m excited to coach him.”
Like Horford, Brown said veteran Tobias Harris will embody leadership by example as the season gets underway:
“I think that Tobias Harris, in a full season, as another example for me is a priceless gift. There is nothing like a peer talking to a peer, a teammate talking to a teammate. Watching the example that both of those two players, to name a few, can provide - it expedites growth. It validates doing the right thing, it validates what you really have to do to be a pro. It validates what you have to do to give yourself every chance to play in June. We know the harder you work, the smarter you work, the luckier you get.”
Following his first All-Star berth, Ben Simmons is poised for a standout season once again. Brown thinks the Aussie's offseason preparation and diligence will make a major difference:
“His confidence that I saw when he came back to Philadelphia and played in our gym over the past few weeks just stood out. It shone. I feel like he’s going to have a tremendous, again, season. He’s a 23-year-old All-Star.”
Another of the Sixers' newest additions, Josh Richardson, is expected to make immediate contributions to the team’s talented core on both ends of the floor. Brown said Richardson’s importance cannot be underestimated:
“I think Josh is, almost, the secret - as important as any - mortar. He just holds us together. He really has the chance to hold us together, because of his obvious skill of defense. He will guard the opposition’s primary ball handler. I think he can make a shot when the game asks him to. He’s got to be able to shoot when other players get attention. I feel that his mentality, there’s a role acceptance, where he gets his neighbors. I feel like he’s just going to be kind of the ideal fit to be truthful.”
Brown also gave credit to the architect behind the 76ers' revamped roster, General Manager Elton Brand:
“We all get what he’s done over his career, and his lifestyle. He’s chosen to do this. I’m blown away at how he handles his job. I’m proud of him, I respect him, and I love him being my general manager. I just think he’s a star. I think he’s a star, and I am thrilled that I’m doing this with him… I think he’s a quiet killer. He is so quietly competitive. His disposition reeks of poise, you would think, his temperance, how he sees the world, is remarkably balanced. But there is an inner competitiveness and drive that is real. How he handles himself, and his experiences, allows him to gain respect from my team, and I think in the league.”
Next stop: Training camp. Check back in to sixers.com for updates throughout the week ahead.