Brett Brown's glass is most definitely half full. What exactly it's half full of, I don't know. But whatever he's drinking, we could all use some.
Lumbering through a crummy season, replete with a 26-game losing streak, has done nothing to quell the Philadelphia 76ers coach's spirits. Although his Sixers have the NBA's second-worst record, he's staying positive. Against all win-loss logic, he, per Calkins Media's Tom Moore, is even going to miss this team:
#Sixers Brown: 'We want to end strong. We want to end together. In a twisted way, I'm going to miss coaching these guys.'— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) April 7, 2014
What he's saying certainly seems sick and twisted. The premise, however, is completely valid.
Excessive losing can severely damage team dynamics. Salary and talent dumps—Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes—can create unrest. Seasons like this can destroy egos and cost coaches their jobs.
It's different for Brown. The Sixers weren't supposed to be good. They were supposed to be historically bad—worse than they actually are. Brown doesn't deserve a pink slip for staying the course; he warrants a commendation.
This is also his first season at the helm. He's new to the head coaching game, so it's no surprise he's enjoying time with his players and luxuries of his new job.
Among those luxuries is a learning curve.
Guiding a truly terrible team facing absolutely no expectations simplifies the learning process. There is no pressure to win or immediately perform. There is only time to experiment and adjust. Brown has done plenty of both.
While he’s learned a great deal from GM Hinkie and the team’s analytics/advanced statistics department, the 53-year-old Brown said there’s a traditional side of him that can still be skeptical.
So in team meetings that include Hinkie hire Lance Pearson, who has a Ph.D in Cognitive and Neural Systems from Boston University, Brown will ask all kinds of questions.
For example, analytics proponents stress the importance of getting as many offensive possessions as possible. So while the rebuilding Sixers, who possess the NBA’s second-worst record of 17-60, lead the league in possessions, Brown also wants to know what kind of shots they’re getting and if a poor 3-point shooter takes the jumper.
Curiosity has kept Brown consistent—consistently upbeat:
Thad on consistency of Coach Brown: "All day, every day. He's always positive, and he's done a great job." pic.twitter.com/fB1rrBvoC7— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) April 7, 2014
Good vibes are difficult to find during trying times. Culling anything positive from this season—this potentially sub-20-win season—isn't easy when sifting through the Sixers' roster and the question marks it holds.
Will one of their likely two lottery picks this summer turn into a star? Is Michael Carter-Williams a legitimate stud or the product of an aggressive neophyte headlining a deliberately horrible team? Can Nerlens Noel rebound from an inaugural season lost to injury?
"I can see daylight," Brown said, per The Inquirer's Bob Ford. "There are times I feel I know something that others don't and I get excited about what I think could happen. I am so excited to try to get this right."
In a season tainted by losing and tanking, Brown's unbridled optimism is, indeed, something to be excited about.