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Brett Brown hints at growing impatience with Sixers' rebuild

Coach didn't outright express his displeasure with team's lack of talent, but he seems to indicate he wants more.

Sam Hinkie and Michael Carter-Williams together after the 2013 NBA draft, but midway through this season, MCW was gone. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff file photo)
Sam Hinkie and Michael Carter-Williams together after the 2013 NBA draft, but midway through this season, MCW was gone. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff file photo)Read more


The two words Brett Brown never spoke resounded loudest in his final interviews of the season.

"To coach gypsies or to have to coach a revolving door is not what I am looking for," Brown said Wednesday at the season finale.

Later that night, he lost his 64th game of the season; a predictably awful showing. In Brown's two seasons as head coach, general manager Sam Hinkie gave him an unstable roster of various players, which included one guy (Andrei Kirilenko) who refused to show up, and seldom included more than one or two viable NBA starters.

It was a lot like the previous season, when the Sixers lost 63 games.

Brow has had enough of this. He made that clear in his end-of-the-season news conference yesterday:

"I hope that if we can have something that is stable and consistent that we are going to be able to talk a little bit easier at this time next year."

. . . or else.


Brown doesn't mind developing players, but he does mind having his legs cut from beneath him in the name of acquiring nebulous future assets.

Brown and his Sixers staff turned Michael Carter-Williams into the rookie of the year. MCW was supposed to be the first cornerstone in the Sixers' alleged reconstruction scheme, The Plan, as it has become known.

Then, one day in February, Hinkie entered Brown's office and announced that all of that work would be turned into a conditional first-round pick. Brown didn't like that, but he swallowed it, and turned his focus to the rest of the laughable roster; mainly, to forward/center Nerlens Noel.

Noel and Carter-Williams were supposed to grow together. Now, Brown and Co. must build and season another NBA point guard, the one entity without which no team succeeds.

Brown also endured Hinkie drafting an injured big man for the second consecutive season. Noel, taken sixth, missed 2013-14 recovering from knee surgery. Joel Embiid, drafted third last June, missed this season recovering from a broken foot. The Sixers also used a first-round pick on forward Dario Saric, who isn't expected to leave his Turkish team until at least after next season. Brown travels to Turkey on Sunday to observe Saric for a week; praying, no doubt, Saric did not regress.

What will Brown do if Hinkie drafts yet another player who cannot immediately play?

"If it happens again - I won't lie, you're going to bite your lip," Brown said, chuckled a bit, and continued the joke: "I do admit, in my own contract negotiations, nobody explained to me fully that, for a few years, you might not have your draft picks."

Translation: Hinkie better not select another long-range Euro star or a high-ceiling player with a year of rehab ahead of him.

. . . or else.

A first-time head coach, Brown lacks any real leverage. Hinkie, who is brilliant, has tenderfoot owner Josh Harris firmly nestled in his pocket (protector). Remember, Harris is the gentleman who raucously endorsed the ridiculous trade for Andrew Bynum in 2012 - and offered to immediately extend Bynum's contract.

Hinkie vs. Harris is not a fair fight.

Brown also will enter the final year of his contract after next season. The most impressive lines on his resumé still will include the phrase "while working for Gregg Popovich."

Nevertheless, Brown let his bosses know he thinks 2015-16 should be about more than teaching Noel and Embiid how to execute a drop step.

Even the blindest followers of the Cult of Sam balked when he shipped MCW to Milwaukee, though within hours - thanks to some cleverly placed misinformation - they regrouped and devalued Carter-Williams.

No word on how the cultists responded to MCW's 30 points, 11-for-17 shooting, five assists and five rebounds in his homecoming win Monday - in which he sat out the fourth quarter.

Maybe the cultists will gather and watch Milwaukee in the playoffs to further parse his faults. They won't be watching their Sixers any time soon.

You cannot fault Brown for hardening his jaw. This is what he definitely has for next year's team:

A half of an NBA player in Noel, who is about 2 years from competence; a talented wing man in Jerami Grant, a second-round project who also is about 2 years from competence; JaKarr Sampson, an undrafted, athletic guard/forward who probably will top out as some team's seventh man.

Embiid? He still is not playing actual basketball, not running up and down the floor. Brown frets that Embiid's battle with his weight could sabotage his career.

Other players are on the roster, but their futures are much less secure because of Trader Sam. Brown spoke about the support he routinely enjoys in the community, but Brown is considered a victim.

Hinkie is the bad guy; Hinkie, who hides when times are tough; Hinkie, who uses Brown as a human shield.

"I think that's unfair to Sam. I do this with him," Brown insisted. "Brett Brown's not looking for pity. I hope this city sees me in partnership with him."

The city does not. The city, like Brown, hopes he gets a chance to develop real players.

"We need needle movers. We need talent," Brown said. They need consistency, too.

"If we can hold on to a group for a while, we can move people forward," Brown said.

He knows they will make changes next season, too:

"You just hope that number shrinks."

. . . or else.

On Twitter: @inkstainedretch