Looking Ahead

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

The Coaching Search

During an end-of-year Zoom session with reporters Tuesday, Elton Brand made his offseason mission clear:

Figure out what it takes to put the 76ers in position to contend for a championship, then make it happen. 

Topping the 41-year old's to-do list is finding a new head coach, a search that, in Brand's words, can't and won't be rushed.

"I'm going to be strategic and thoughtful," he said. "This is a pivotal point for our organization. We're at a crossroads right now, so this hire is going to be extremely important."

As for the characteristics the Sixers will seek in their next on-court leader, it sounds like Brand hopes to identify someone who's got a little bit of everything. 

"All options are on the table. We're going to figure out their temperament, how they plan to use Joel [Embiid] and Ben [Simmons], and their philosophies." 

Above all, Brand wants to hire a candidate capable of pushing the Sixers to "the next level."

"I'm looking for a coach who's going to maximize [our] talent. The right coach for this group is what I'm going to look for. Once I start this interview process, I assume that will be clear."

A Unique Perspective

In just a few weeks, Brand will complete his second full year as General Manager. He was promoted to the post in September 2018, after spending parts of the previous two seasons in the Sixers' personnel department.

Prior to that, of course, the former no. 1 pick and co-Rookie of the Year logged 17 seasons in the NBA as a player. He was with the Sixers from 2008 through 2012, before returning in 2015, and was named an All-Star with the LA Clippers in 2002 and 2006. 

Brand feels his time both in uniform and in an NBA front office gives him an advantageous perspective.

"The unique situations I've been put in over these last few years positions me to lead and be part of this going forward."

He also thinks he's a different executive now than he was two years ago.

"I'm looking forward to leading this off-season and figuring out how to get us back on the right path."

Building Around All-Stars

In charting the future for the 76ers, Elton Brand believes Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will assume prominent roles.

Simmons finished the 2019-20 regular season as the NBA leader in steals (2.1 spg), and routinely excelled in individual defensive match-ups against the league's premiere scorers. 

"Ben had a great season, should be on an All-Defensive team," said Brand. "He's played great, and he's going to continue to grow and he brings us a lot."

Embiid, meanwhile, dominated following the NBA restart. He ranked sixth in the league in scoring (30.0 ppg), third in rebounding (12.3 rpg), and first in free throws (12.0 ftm, 14.8 fta) during the opening round of the playoffs. 

"Joel is growing as a player and a person," Brand said. "I think he's in the right spot. He was pushing to do a lot better. He wants to win."

On the heels of a regular season that saw the Sixers post the best home record in the NBA and notch noteworthy wins over the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers, Brand says it's now up to him to identify the most effective on-court complements for the All-Star duo.

"They want to be here, they want to be with our organization, and I see them here for a long, long time."

 

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