BRETT BROWN isn't new to this NBA thing. Having spent 12 wildly successful years at the league's current premier program, the San Antonio Spurs, Brown knows what it takes to put into place all the factors to make a team successful.

The coach demands some off-court elements — such as a premier practice facility, which is in the works, and the best programs in sports science and fitness. But when it comes to being successful for the 48 minutes of a game, Brown's recipe is pretty simple. And, believe it or not, he doesn't think the Sixers are too far from it.

After a recent practice outside of Detroit at the swanky Detroit Country Day School, Brown was asked how to build a team that could stay competitive.

"Always inside-out," he said without hesitation, meaning he would get capable big men first, then fill out the roster. "Count the legitimate post players in the NBA that command a double-team. When you say we're going to build it inside out first, well, you better have a real reason. I think Joel Embiid can be that reason. Like Tim Duncan was that reason. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong."

That formula certainly has worked wonderfully for San Antonio, which has filtered in pieces around Duncan over the years to build the empire. It certainly helped that the Spurs grabbed Manu Ginobili in the second round in 1999 and snared Tony Parker with the 28th pick in the 2001 draft. Both are future Hall of Famers.

But through the years, they sprinkled important contributors around the big three, such as Bruce Bowen, Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills, Steve Kerr, Robert Horry, and so on. Brown had a big part of developing those players into roles that made that winning machine run so smoothly.

That is what he is trying to do here, and Brown is excited about the pieces coming together for this organization.

"We understand where we're at," he said with his usual amount of high energy. "Winning and losing is why we compete. We can push it to the side and talk about rebuild and we can push it to the side and talk about [being the] youngest team in the NBA, but still, I can't stand to lose. I hate it. It's something that always has to be ever-present as we're doing the things that are most important — development, sports science — that we never take our eye off that either. There is no acceptance level. There is no comfort level. We hate to lose, end of story.

"The answer [of how to build a team] isn't an opinion, it's who you're coaching, who do you have? You wouldn't have said that last year [that they were building an inside-out team]. No disrespect to anybody, that's just the way the team was built. There are lots of really good teams in the NBA who many not say that, either. It's not because it's not the right way. You coach to your personnel. In my perfect world, I want to go inside first. Now, do I have a reason to say that? I think I do, so time will tell."

He calls Embiid the "center of our universe." When speaking of the injured No. 3 overall pick, he talks of All-Star appearances, of playoffs, of a piece around whom an organization can build. You can tell he is thinking of Duncan.

Now throw in some pieces such as the raw Nerlens Noel and Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams and the need to find those peripheral pieces becomes a big deal.

That is one reason players came and went through the organization at an alarming rate last season and probably will again this season. While developing Embiid, Noel and MCW is at the forefront, finding "keepers" is almost as important.

With Embiid probably out for the season, MCW still not recovered from shoulder surgery and Noel still adapting to NBA life after a year of recovery, this vision of Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie is still a mirage. But after a season of only 19 wins, and an upcoming one that might be worse, Brown believes the plan is taking shape.

Sixers make deal

The Sixers yesterday acquired Brooklyn Nets guard Marquis Teague and a 2019 second-round pick in exchange for guard Casper Ware.

Teague, 21, was taken with the 29th pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2012 NBA draft after a year at Kentucky. He has played 88 NBA games with the Bulls and Nets, with three starts, and has averaged 2.3 points a game.

The pick received by the Sixers will be the higher pick between Milwaukee and Sacramento in the 2019 draft.