As the 76ers have struggled, especially during a recent four-game road losing streak, coach Brett Brown’s job status has come under major scrutiny.
General manager Elton Brand did nothing to make the topic go away.
With the chance to say that Brown will be his coach for the rest of the year, Brown wouldn’t commit.
“I am not going to play what ifs,” Brand said in a press conference before Friday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. “He is our coach and I am supporting Brett Brown. He is our leader.”
Without saying that Brown will definitely be the coach for the remainder of the season, doubt will hang around the franchise, especially if the Sixers don’t turn things around.
While the Sixers entered Friday with a 31-21 record, they are just 9-19 on the road, after losing their fourth straight road game in Thursday’s 112-101 defeat at Milwaukee.
Now in his second season as the Sixers’ general manager, Brand also revealed that he will make the decision on the coach, not managing partner Josh Harris, as was the case previously.
“Once I got a year under my belt the conversation was ‘hey you did a great job your first season where you took us,’” Brand said. “The Brett conversation was ‘look EB, this how it is around the league, you have done a lot for me and the organization, we respect it. Ownership, we are all aligned with that. That is how it should be,’ so it wasn’t a big deal.”
Despite not saying for sure that Brown will last the season, in fairness, Brand did praise his head coach, now in his seventh season.
“Brett Brown is our coach,” Brand said. “I believe in him to lead this team. That is what I stand by and I truly believe it. He is the leader of this team. And I will support how I can support it...”
Brand didn’t exclude himself from the blame for what has been a disappointing season. The Sixers began the evening in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, four games out of fourth place.
“It is all of us,” Brand said. “I constructed this roster and am a part of it too. We need to figure it out. I believe we will figure it out.”
While Ben Simmons has made the All-Star team for the second year in a row, his reluctance to shoot from the outside remains a detriment.
Entering the game, Simmons had attempted 566 field goals and 534 of them have been from nine feet and in, according to NBA Advanced Stats.
“Ben is a point guard who wants to make the best decisions out there,” Brand said. “I am not going to take away from all the elite things he is doing, a second-time all-star, his defense, he is spacing more, he is getting to the position. He is learning and growing and is an elite player.”
Brand remains hopeful Simmons will develop a perimeter game.
“He is going to improve in shooting,” Brand said. “And when he does, he is going to unlock another asset...”
Brand says that Joel Embiid, who struggled during the four-game losing streak, with a minus-46 rating, will eventually show why he is a three-time All-Star.