Contrary to reports that Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown would lose his job if the team failed to reach the NBA Finals, Brown will return for his seventh season with the organization.
Just a day after the Sixers were eliminated in Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors, general manager Elton Brand and owner Joshua Harris publicly backed the head coach.
“Brett’s job was never in jeopardy,” Harris said at his season ending press conference.
The team’s franchise player, Joel Embiid, believes Brown got better this season.
“This year I think he grew more as a coach. He learned, we all learned.”
Despite the team’s failure to move past the second round, the organization made the right decision to retain him.
No help from his best player
The NBA is a player’s league. Joel Embiid’s health played a major factor in the Sixers season ending against the Raptors.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the players,” Embiid said at his closing press conference. “I don’t think he should have anything to worry about.”
Embiid added that if someone is to blame it should be put in himself. He battled knee tendonitis, gastroenteritis and an upper respiratory infection all throughout the series. At times, he visibly looked sick on the court.
In other words, his limitations were apparent by his lack of aggressiveness and inability to impact the half-court offense in a positive way.
Besides Game 3, Embiid scored more than 20 points only once in the series. He needed 18 shots and 45 minutes played to score 21 points in Game 7.
The stat sheet shows his lack of offensive production and the eye test should bring you to the same conclusion. Embiid settled for jump shots instead of trying to attack his primary defender, which was Marc Gasol.
Gasol defends Embiid almost better than anyone (Al Horford enters the chat) but his defenders can’t stop his will to drive to the basket and draw contact.
The only thing stopping Embiid from attacking his opponents is himself. And that’s what happened in the series.
Changing the Approach
Perhaps the Sixers can learn a valuable lesson from the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. The Raptors sat Kawhi Leonard for 20 games during the regular season with the hope of keeping him healthy for a long playoff run.
Joshua Harris and Elton Brand should look to adopt that method, but they will need to get a solid backup center in the offseason to make it work.
Brett Brown needs his best player at the most pivotal point in the season. He wasn’t given that opportunity and it most likely cost them a berth to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.