Brett Brown signed a four-year contract to coach the Philadelphia 76ers.
This is already the third year.
The first two seasons have produced a combined 37 victories. And the 2015-16 version of the Sixers is likely to wind up in the lottery once again.
Joel Embiid is out for a second straight season. The Sixers are lacking a quality starting point guard. The bench is toothpick thin.
Promising first-round pick Jahlil Okafor will team with Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt to provide a glimpse of the future. But this tandem is still so young.
There are so many questions surrounding the Sixers.
One of the biggest ones is this: will Brown stay for the long-term? It’s a legitimate concern.
“That I just don’t want to talk about it. I really don’t,” Brown told a group of media members at a preseason gathering. “I enjoy talking to everybody here. … I’ve said what I’ve had to say and I’m just really excited to coach the group and I’d be disappointed in myself if commented many sentences beyond what I’ve just done as it relates to my contract. And that’s alright. I’ll try not to be rude and look at everybody but when I say I don’t have anything to say … you’ll have heard it here first.”
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Brown is one of the most positive, upbeat coaches in the entire league. Losing has to take its toll. How can it not?
For now, Brown is happy coaching this extremely young group. How many losses will Brown be able to stomach? He chooses to take a different view.
“If you saw players that were just wallowing around and not improving, then I would worry,” Brown said. “If you walked into a gym and you saw a lazy Philadelphia 76ers team that other coaches and other players didn’t respect — they knew that they were going to leave with a lost tooth or a black eye when they play us, I would feel like I’m not doing my job. I left Chicago (recently), the NBA Coaches Convention, and I walk out proud. When you go up and I know every one of the coaches quite well in the room, this is my 15th year in the NBA and you hear about how they’re kind of blown away that with the losses that we have had and some of the streaks we’ve had to survive — that the group plays hard.
“I love coaching those guys. They play hard. Anybody here at the table could come in and say that group is amazing how they’ve stayed together and how hard they play. I respect my players. I’m proud of my players and I’m with my players. Those are the things that matter to me. Those are the ways that I candidly coach myself.”
It would unrealistic to think the Sixers will make the playoffs this season. Even 30 wins would seem highly surprising.
When this season ends, Brown will have one year left on his contract. It’s a fluid situation worth watching.