Lloyd Pierce is in his second year as Atlanta Hawks head coach after serving five years as an assistant to 76ers coach Brett Brown. So he knows the type of scrutiny his former boss faces.
It seems with every loss, Brown is a lightning rod for criticism.
The Sixers (35-22) are coming off Saturday’s 119-98 loss in Milwaukee, their sixth straight road defeat. They are 9-20 on the road, but 26-2 at home.
When asked his thoughts on the criticism Brown is taking, Pierce had a question of his own.
“Is the heat he is taking worse than it has ever been?” Pierce asked after the Hawks’ shootaround in preparation for tonight’s game against the Sixers. “Is it all of a sudden worse in Philly now?"
Pierce was told it’s not better, and then he relayed a story from his last season with the Sixers.
“I always tell this story: When Doug Pederson and the Eagles won the Super Bowl, that year, it’s mid-August and people are giving him a hard time because he wouldn’t announce when Carson Wentz was going to be available,” Pierce said, laughing as he recalled the story. “It’s like ‘They did just win the Super Bowl, right? We’re still in the preseason.’"
He said that is typical of the passion that Philadelphia sports fans exhibit. Pierce then talked about Brown and the Sixers.
“It’s Philly. It’s not going to be better. If they are winning games, it still wouldn’t be better," he said. “What are they, a game out of fifth [in the Eastern Conference]? If they were a second seed, it wouldn’t be better. Nobody would be raving about these guys.”
The Sixers are 35-22, fifth in the Eastern Conference and a game and a half out of fourth place.
Pierce said that fans take their sports seriously in Philadelphia and that anybody who coaches there immediately realizes that.
“In Philly, every loss stings the same way. Every win is, like, that’s what you are supposed to do,” Pierce said.
Now in his seventh season, Brown endured a 75-253 record in his first four years, before the Sixers turned the corner. Pierce feels that Brown is up to the task.