After spending more than a decade in the San Antonio Spurs’ organization – serving as director of player development and an assistant coach, among other positions – Brett Brown knows what it takes to win a championship. He knows the blueprint for success.
Now, he just needs to implement that blueprint in Philadelphia, which hasn’t won 50 games in a season since Allen Iverson led the 76ers to 56 wins and the NBA Finals in 2001.
“That’s the goal; that’s the end game,” Brown said on The Morning Show. “It’s difficult. It’s a very well-coached league. There are a lot of great players. Personally, I like starting with the fitness level – really trying to make sure we pay attention to their health, make sure we pay attention to all the things that are going to enable a player to (play) 82 games. I think the challenge and the demands of an 82 game NBA schedule are oftentimes not truly recognized.
“I’ve had the privilege,” Brown continued, “to be a part of four NBA championships and have gone to five (NBA Finals). You see the Hall-of-Fame players that came through our doors when I was with the Spurs, and it teaches you. The players teach you. And I think the health and fitness is the first place I try to go.”
The Sixers got off to a surprising 3-0 start – which included wins over the Heat and Bulls – before dropping back-to-back games to the Warriors and Wizards by a combined 34 points.
For Brown, the hard part will be combatting the outside outlook for his team; after all, Las Vegas put the over/under on Philadelphia wins this season at 16.5.
“I think there is a hard truth, a hard reality, when you look at our roster that I believe we are the youngest team and have the least experience in the NBA,” Brown said. “As I told the public here – and I talked to the owners when I accepted the position – the pain of losing and the pain of a rebuild is real, especially in a very competitive, tough city like Philadelphia. And our mission and our message to our players was all about development.
“We want to get the veterans better. We want to get the (younger players) better. We’re going to take some hits. Maybe our measurement this year isn’t gong to be the win column, which is really difficult for any athlete, any competitor, any coach to admit. We’re trying to build something. We’re looking at pace, we’re looking at trying to establish defense in the paint and we’re especially looking to have a very fit team.
“To sell that message to anybody is hard, but that’s the truth. That’s the mission and challenge I have as their coach.”
Brown, who signed a four-year contract, has been extremely impressed with rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who in his NBA debut had 22 points, 12 assists and nine steals to beat the Heat, 114-110, on Oct. 30 – despite Miami scoring a combined 80 points in the second and third quarters.
“I just think he’s got a lot of special qualities that could make him a very unique player in our league,” Brown said.