Fair or not, Brett Brown has been on a warm seat during this year’s playoffs. The seat isn’t quite hot, because Brown has brought the team to within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals. But he has faced many criticisms over the last few weeks, and if things don’t go well on Sunday for the Sixers, might find himself without a job. Marc Stein of the New York Times reports Brown has “little chance” of surviving if the Sixers lose Game 7.
Oh, how quickly things change. The Sixers were the pleasant surprise of the league just last season, and received virtual pats on the back from everyone in the industry for engineering such a turnaround. One short year later, and Brown’s head will roll if the Sixers lose to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the second round. These Raptors, it should be mentioned, have Kawhi Leonard, a robot who has turned his settings up to Hall of Fame difficulty and is currently mowing down everyone in his path.
Brown seems to be getting the short end of the stick, and is being punished for his team’s limitations despite the front office throwing new faces into the locker room every other day. He’s done a great job of bringing along Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons; he has struggled to adjust at times during the playoffs, but showed in Game 6 that he’s very capable of seeing and making those adjustments. He’s a good coach, and if the Sixers flame out spectacularly on Sunday night, then it’s reasonable to question if he’s the guy who can bring this team to the next level. But if they go down fighting, it’s hard to say how much of it is actually Brown’s fault.
If the Sixers do lose, spectacularly or not, and Brown is fired, he’ll be a prime candidate for the Grizzles and Lakers head coaching jobs that remain unoccupied. Brown has his shortcomings, but led the Sixers through the Valley of Death that was The Process and came out the other side unscathed. That counts for something, but only so much in Philadelphia, it would appear.