NBA News: Sixers Nix Brown, Who's Next?

Brett Brown

The Process Peters Out

Philadelphia fired its head coach, Brett Brown, and so ended a seven-year chapter of mainly disappointing seasons, lottery draft picks, and something that became known as The Process, a term reflecting the 76ers rebuilding phase from a cellar-dweller to an anticipated world champion.

Strides were made over recent years as a few of Philadelphia's lottery picks began to blossom but several critical miscues along the way, looking at you Markelle Fultz, and a lack of team chemistry belied all the natural talent accrued on the Sixers' roster. If there was a final nail in the coffin for Brown's tenure, it came about on August 5th, when Ben Simmons injured his left knee in a 107-98 win over the Wizards. That was the last time Simmons graced the hardwood and it closed the curtain, not only on his season but any championship hopes for the 76ers going forward.

Before Game 1 with the Celtics, the NBA odds offered at showed Boston as substantial favorites at -480/+350 to win the series. But few believed Boston had the chops to dominate Philly as they did. After four games, the sweep was complete, the Sixers' brass had seen enough, and the axe fell swiftly on Brown. But where does this leave Philadelphia? The 76ers enter the offseason with one of the highest payrolls in the league and a team that is desperate need of a veteran fix; one who will be a leader and not just a square peg in a round hole.

Perhaps Brown shouldn't be the only one to feel the blade. Sure, he ran the X's and O's but assembling talent is not exclusively the domain of the coach. There is a front office that needs to be held accountable and many industry observers have noted that the Sixers are run more like IBM than a basketball team. There is attention to all the corporate accouterments but the product on the floor seems to be overlooked and viewed more as a condiment than the actual entrée.

Broom the Front Office?

All one has to know about the current leadership is reflected in the signing of Al Horford. Naturally, he was attractive to the Sixers after a season in which he averaged over 11 points per game with Boston and had limitless potential at the tender age of 33. This is sarcasm for all those scratching their heads.

So, the 76ers management team put their collective heads together and came up with an offer no other team would match - because, well, they're not insane - when they signed him to a four year, $109 million, pact. Horford averaged seven points per game in the series sweep loss to Boston and looked as though he was fitted in cement shoes against the young, soaring, and uniquely talented duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Average Al never even made a shot from beyond the arc in the entire series.

Joel Embiid is a talent to be sure, as is Ben Simmons, but both young players are developing nasty habits. The former closed the series against the Celtics with a career-worst -53 over those four games while Simmons has shown a reluctance to shoot jumpers and is a roll of the dice at the charity stripe. Both need to be coached up and fitted with an offense that will flow through them while still allowing the rest of the pieces of the puzzle to be involved on both ends of the court.

A bloated payroll means the 76ers will have little room to sign any free agent worth his salt unless they can find a willing trade partner. Even then, they will be assuming a good portion of Horford's or Tobias Harris' contract which will still bind them financially. The front office doesn't seem to understand the concept of team chemistry and how getting the right guy is the key, not the guy with the biggest name and costliest price tag.

We will let Joel Embiid elucidate us on how he felt heading into this season and what he thought of his team's offseason moves.

"During the season, I was not there," Embiid said. "I just wasn't comfortable. The offense wasn't the same, basketball wasn't the same to me. The way things happened last summer; it was so frustrating. I was kind of mad at the whole world and I was just like, 'Eh, whatever.' Like, I'm just coming to work and I'm gonna do my best, but I wasn't playing up to my standards."

Hopefully, this is the last Philly fans will hear of The Process and focus instead on... Mission Accomplished.