Expectations Lofty, but Come With Dose of Patience
The excitement is here. You feel it, and Brett Brown does too.
But along with the heightened expectations that surround the 76ers’ 2018-19 campaign - hype, by the way, that Brown believes is perfectly legitimate - the sixth-year head coach is preaching a pragmatic outlook.
“I think they expect success, and so do I,” Brown said following Thursday’s practice, referring to the Sixers’ fanbase. “Nobody’s backpedaling from that.
“Where I am centered is the reality that this is going to take a little bit of time to figure out - to coach well, to substitute well, for these guys to interact and play well. It’s a community thing - it’s me and [the players].”
For the full-speed ahead crowd, reason for immense optimism can be found in the Sixers retaining just about their entire core from the preceding 52-win season. The team, and its young talent in particular, only figures to benefit that much more from a summer’s worth of hard work and maturity.
But in the five months that have passed since the Sixers were ousted from the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, this coming Tuesday’s opening night opponent, there have been some key changes.
Markelle Fultz is now in the fold on a full-time basis, and warrants regular role. The bench boasts a couple fresh faces. And, some tweaks have been made to the defense as well.
So, yes, the notion of pumping the breaks...perhaps just a bit at the outset of the year, is very much on Brown’s mind. He anticipates most of the fine-tuning to happen - understandably - during the “first-third” of the season, which, as Brown defines it, lasts from the Sixers’ first game through Christmas.
Ultimately, though, Brown feels the Sixers will be capable of making a deep post-season push, just like the team’s fans do.
“I think the reality of when that happens, what does that look like, maybe that’s different,” he said. “But we end up in the same place.”
And if that’s the case, the Sixers will have no problem fulfilling all the pre-season excitement.