TORONTO - Even though there's new leadership at the top, the 76ers don't plan to revamp their strategy.

"Nothing is going to change," Sixers coach Brett Brown said Tuesday morning as the team prepared for the game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. "There's not anything that I can point to conceptually, philosophically that's going to change. We just hope to do it harder, better, longer."

The Sixers' offense is based heavily on the analytics of shooting mostly threes and layups. It is something that Sam Hinkie, the former general manager and president of basketball operations, preferred before he resigned on Wednesday.

That wasn't the style that Brown, a former longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant, had a lot of success with while at the Spurs. It was something that Hinkie brought to the Sixers from his days as an assistant general manager with the Houston Rockets.

So, there were questions as to whether that would change after Bryan Colangelo was named as the new president of basketball operations.

"This is how it works," Brown said. "We have to grow our defense. You have to build a program that guards. You have to build a program that fights in the city of Philadelphia. You need the pieces that do that.

"Ultimately, you are going to need two-way players, people that are going to make shots and support our bigs and so on. But we need people that are going to grow our defense. End of story in my view."

In other words, the Sixers' offensive philosophy won't even matter until they shore up their defense. That's why they'll identify unselfish defensive-minded players with strong leadership qualities in free agency.

"Clearly we are going to have to look at some veteran bigs," Brown said. He noted that Elton Brand, who joined the team in January as a player and mentor, helped in that regard.

"He was great with our guys," Brown said of Brand. "Share a voice. Share an opinion. Help guide us.

"I'm sure they'll be some backcourt veterans that we look at to help guide some of our young guys, possible draft picks."

Brown recalled how the Spurs started out as a blue-collar group. They had post players Tim Duncan and David Robinson to go hard, core rules and a level of accountability.

Then the Spurs got into a more free-flowing offense that meshed with their defensive base. Now, San Antonio is regarded as a dynasty that has won five NBA titles and posted 17 straight 50-win seasons.

Brown said the Sixers' challenge over the last three seasons was walking that line of growing his players, keeping the program together and overcoming some mistakes on the floor. At times, they had to permit some things they didn't like and coach in non-traditional ways.

"I'm amazed that we actually got through it," Brown said.

The team took a 10-70 record into the game with the Raptors (54-26). The Sixers were 47-197 since they began sacrificing wins to secure top draft picks at the start of the 2013-14 season.

The organization will conclude the season and the tanking era Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

"I can't wait to get into my desk on Thursday morning," Brown said. "I cannot wait. You just feel, like you take a deep breath, you can see what can happen. It's not so much the excitement of having [the season] over. It's not that at all, I just feel like I see daylight, and you can see what can be. I very much look forward to Thursday."

He's not alone.

The Sixers as a whole are excited to finally escape the three seasons of asset-building and sacrificing victories to add winning pieces.

"It's got nothing to do with Bryan or Brett or not having Sam," Brown said. "It's just whoever it was here, that's just the next wave and phase."

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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