The 76ers have Brett Brown's back.
It was thought that the coach would have to reach the eastern conference finals to keep his job. Well, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Sixers, 92-90, in game seven of their eastern conference semi-final series on Monday (AEST) at Scotiabank Arena. So the Sixers finished one game from reaching the conference finals.
Philly coach Brett Brown.Credit:AP
But a number of his players don't want him to go anywhere. And they don't think he's going anywhere.
After the loss, the coach conducted exit interviews with the team at its practice facility in Camden. At his press conference, Jimmy Butler talked about Brown having a huge heart, being a "great dude," and working incredibly hard.
"So you have to respect that about him," Butler said. "He always thinks about how to make everybody great, which is hard to do when you have the roster that we have/had.
"I think he's going to be here for a long time."
Brown has led the Sixers to two consecutive 51-plus-win regular seasons and conference semi-final appearances. His 178-314 regular-season record through six seasons is misleading because the team was tanking his first four seasons. The Sixers finished 52-30 in his fifth season and 51-31 this season.
However, he's been criticised for some of his late-game coaching. A lot of the criticism died down after his adjustments against the Raptors.
"I would say this in general. For any NBA team, when you think about a coach, and potentially replacing that coach, you have to consider what coaches are available," JJ Redick said. "You know what I mean? That's just in general.
"I don't feel it necessary to defend Brett to anyone. I think his work speaks for itself."
Embiid called the reports of Brown's position being in jeopardy rumors. He thinks it is all bull, as he said bluntly. He said he thinks the coach has done a fantastic job.
"Then this year, I think he grew even more as a coach," the centre said.
Joel Embiid is one of many 76ers who have publicly backed their coach.Credit:AP
Brown had to get his starting line-up of Butler, Redick, Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to co-exist.
"We all learned it's hard when you got five guys that can basically score the ball and do a lot of things on the basketball court," Embiid said. "It's hard to put it all together.
"I don't think he should have anything to worry about."
He described Brown as an amazing coach, an even better person, and someone for whom he has a lot of love.
"If there was someone to blame [for not reaching the conference finals]," Embiid said, "put it all on me."
Brown invited reporters to address general manager Elton Brand and team ownership about anything "internal," including his standing with the 76ers.
"If you just follow our time in Philadelphia – we win 10 games, we've been through a handful of general managers, ping pong balls, different draft picks," Brown said. "Now you fast forward, we've gone back-to-back 50-[win] seasons. Not too many people in this room gave us a chance against Toronto. There's lots to be proud of."
Philadelphia owner Josh Harris was noncommittal in April when asked about Brown's hold on the job, sparking speculation the franchise was ready to move in another direction.
JJ Redick got emotional at the talk of how the Philly team would look next season.Credit:AP
Simmons said the 76ers have every reason to believe they'll be back – and ready to take the next step next season.
"We can compete with the best," Simmons said.
Whether Butler, a pending free agent, will be around for the next phase of the "process" is up in the air.
"I'm not worried about that right now," Butler said. "I don't want to talk about anything besides basketball."
Redick teared up in the locker room discussing how different the makeup of the 2019-20 roster might be.
"Really proud of our group," Redick said. "Give them a lot of credit. That was a helluva game seven."
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