Although he no longer plies his trade here, former 76ers coach Larry Brown still keeps his eyes and ears focused on all things basketball in Philadelphia.
Brown, who coached the Sixers from 1997-2003, expressed some skepticism about the direction of his old team.
Now the coach at Southern Methodist, he also bemoaned the loss of his chance to coach in the Big East Conference. Brown was one of eight inductees Monday night into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
The 72-year-old Brown is an old-school coach who is not sold on the heightened focus on advanced statistics in the NBA.
"I'm not that kind of guy," Brown said when asked his opinion on the hiring of new Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie. "You're asking the wrong guy. This is not baseball. Guys hit better during the day than they do at night. You have lefties and righties. But this is not baseball. In this league, it's about teaching players and making them better."
However, Brown said he does not rule out the role of analytics in building a better basketball team.
"All the information, I'm sure, helps," Brown said. "But at the end of the day, this is a basketball town. They love kids that play hard, play together, play smart. And the best way to tell that about a kid is to look him in the eye in the most crucial moments of a game. That tells you so much.
"But you have to give this a chance," added Brown, who expressed disappointment that former GM Tony DiLeo was let go. "But the Sixers' new owners have put a lot of money into this program, so you've got to give it a chance. Hopefully it will work out because this is a great basketball community."
Brown spoke highly of what was the Big East Conference before teams started abandoning it in full force in the last few seasons. SMU was scheduled to join the Big East; it landed instead in the American Athletic Conference.
"I hate it," Brown said of not being able to coach in the Big East. "I hate what football has done to conferences, breaking them up. The Big East, year in and year out, was probably the greatest basketball conference of all time. So it's sad to see.
"But it's everywhere. Look at the ACC. What's going on? When you don't have Maryland playing North Carolina and Duke, you know, it's just not right."
Other inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame included Ellen Barkann (figure skating); Bob Brooks (Penn basketball, baseball); Fred Cohen (Temple basketball); Josh Cohen (tennis); Bonnie Kay (golf); and Marc Rayfield (broadcasting).