Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is an atypical scenario — he willingly left a championship contender for a bottom feeder projected to win just 20 games this season according to ESPN. Leaving the San Antonio Spurs isn't easy, but a heaping sum of cash and creative flexibility can make a precarious rebuilding project appear especially intriguing.
But those are just my words. Here's Brown, expounding upon Philadelphia's future.
"Just the belief that we have a chance to turn it around," Brown said. "When you looked at the ownership group, you looked at the talents of Sam Hinkie, when you looked at the possibilities of future draft picks, when you looked at the development of a practice facility right around the corner, all those types of things influenced feeling like you were making a responsible move, bringing your family to Philadelphia, and I’m thrilled to be here."
The 76ers rebuffed their previous trajectory — gradually snagging rotation players, and improving into a middling playoff team — when they flipped All-Star Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel this offseason. Andrew Bynum, a massive one-year gambit, isn't returning either. Philadelphia has just eight guaranteed contracts on their salary ledger, though that doesn't include Noel and Michael Carter-Williams' rookie scale deals. In it's simplest sense, they're trading wins for losses — a whole bunch of them.
So how do you turn a negative situation into a positive? Process, process, process. It's a primary vocal point for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose methodology isn't contingent on results, but the vehicle that produces the results.
"I think just making sure the day-to-day stuff isn’t taken for granted, that you can keep a locker room together when you’re losing," Brown said. "That you don’t take your eyes off the process. It’s all about staying true to the process, with our rules, and defense, and what we’re trying to accomplish on offense. Just banging out good days. The accumulation of banging out good days is often times going to produce results. Initially, it’s just making sure that we don’t skip any steps."
Brown's tenure with San Antonio spanned seven seasons, including one NBA title. But winning a championship isn't easy. Several circumstantial factors heavily influence the process — coaching, health and a bit of luck, to name a few — and Brown appreciates the opportunity to experience the tremendous peaks and valleys in the championship equation.
"We [were] lucky with health, we [were] lucky that we built an organization that could sustain the evolution of different periods," Brown said. "Timmy [Duncan] was a post player, then we handed the torch to [Manu] Ginobili, then it was Tony [Parker] in the pick-and-roll game. [Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford] was great at bringing people around those guys that, as we passed the torch from one to the other, could survive – like finding Danny Greens and Gary Neals. It’s a very well-run organization. My experience working there will never be forgotten. It was a tremendous influence on why I’m here."