Finding the right NBA head coach is like hitting the lottery. Coaches like Greg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau are valued as much as or more than nearly all of the players who play for them. There are a handful of excellent head coaches at the professional level, and everybody is looking for the next great one.
We shouldn't even attempt to say that Brown could be one on deck to thrive as a head coach, but we should say he's off to a great start. He has Philadelphia overachieving and competing in nearly every game it plays in. The competitiveness is great to see as it seems to be a building block for the team's future.
Let's look more closely at Brown and how his coaching debut with the Sixers has gone so far.
If you have the athletes, then you might as well use them.
Brown must live by the philosophy above, because he's done a fantastic job of utilizing Philadelphia's athletic strengths by getting the team out in transition and running. Take a quick look at the Sixers' possessions per game, and you'll see how they don't like to wait too long before getting a shot up.
Philly is leading the league in possessions per game with 105.3 per game. Next on the list is the Minnesota Timberwolves with 102.2. Compare these two teams with each other, and the Sixers get 3.1 more possessions per game. Those three extra possessions give Philadelphia an advantage by giving the team the most chances to score the ball.
Playing defense is fun and all, but no team can win a game without putting points on the board. Extra possessions should help toward Philly's eventual point total.
Combine multiple chances with an ability to get the most out of his players, and you have Brown putting the Sixers back on the offensive side of the map.
If Philadelphia is averaging 102.0 points per game with its current roster, then consider this a warning for when the Sixers have put together a strong team in two or three years.
There are times when it's easy to forget that Brown has never been an NBA head coach before. Unfortunately, take a look at Philly's defense and everything will snap back into place.
The Sixers give up 109.5 points per game, and it's no surprise that they're the league's worst defensive team. Giving up that many points might not completely catch you off guard, but it should when you consider that the last team to give up more points over the course of a season was the 2009-10 Golden State Warriors.
In case you were wondering, the Warriors gave up 112.4 that year.
The bottom line is that Brown hasn't put a big enough emphasis on playing defense. His tempo and success on the offensive end of the floor lead to more offensive opportunities for the opposition.
Everything from giving up easy shots at the rim to defending the three-point line at an embarrassing rate has the Sixers slated to end the season as the league’s worst defensive team.
We know how Brown has affected Philadelphia on the offense and defensive end of the floor, but any progress made means nothing unless he has the respect of those on the Sixers.
Well, it feels like he has everybody's respect and more.
The Philadelphia Daily News' Bob Cooney wrote a fantastic article on Brown and how he has his own coaching style. Here's how he described Brown's main goals:
Brown is as real as it gets. He is direct, firm and honest with his players. He emphasizes on a daily basis that they are all in this together. He makes no bones about wins or expectations, instead earnestly telling his team that he and his coaching staff are here to make them better players, make them NBA-worthy - whether those talents play out here or somewhere else. He is sincere when he says he wants the Tony Wrotens and Hollis Thompsons and James Andersons and Lorenzo Browns and Daniel Ortons to prosper in this league for years to come.
There isn't much to it. Brett Brown is a player's coach. He wants what's best for each of his players and will do any and everything in order to make sure he can get the most out of them over the course of a 48-minute game.
The unique part of Brown's style is how he separates himself from other coaches by trying to coach his players toward successful careers.
Not just successful seasons.
It's way too early to know for sure, but it looks like the Sixers found the right head coach. One of the best ways to recognize this is by seeing how he seems to have his players engaged and excited to play.
They respect Brown because Brown respects them.
It's as simple as that.
Overall Grade: B+
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Dec. 11.
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