Rumors were flying around that Sixers head coach Brett Brown was coaching for his job before game 7 against the Toronto Raptors. Expectations were high for our beloved 76ers this year after adding star players in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris during the season. Sixers owner Josh Harris even came out and stated he would be very disappointed if the team didn't make a deep playoff run this year.
Unfortunately the team didn’t achieve their goals. Their season ended in game 7 against the Toronto Raptors when Kawhi Leonard made an unbelievable shot at the buzzer that saw the ball bounce four times on the rim before bouncing in the basket. Like many fans watching around the world I sat there stunned and couldn't believe that our season would end like that. So where do the Philadelphia 76ers go from here?
Well, re-signing head coach Brett Brown was a very good first step.
Here's why, during the Sixers exit interviews most if not all the players on the team came out and showed their love and support for head coach Brett Brown. This not only shows how strong the culture Brown has built in the locker room, but also how much the players enjoy playing for him. With Brett Brown back, it increases the chances on re-signing pending free agents Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick.
Also keep this in mind; the starting lineup played only a whopping 10 games together before entering the playoffs. Where they were able to make it to game 7 against a Raptors team with Kawhi Leonard playing at a historically high level in the postseason. Joel Embiid was dealing with a knee injury for most, if not all of the playoffs, and he played 2 games while being sick with gastroenteritis and the flu.
Imagine what this starting lineup could do with a whole offseason and regular season of playing together.
Three terrible shot clock possessions late in the 4th quarter doesn’t happen with a team that has played together for an extended period of time and has the chemistry needed to get to the next level.
We've seen, time after time, Brett Brown make the adjustments to put his players in the best position to thrive. Look no further than when he made the adjustment to stop switching so much defensively on screens after getting torched against the Brooklyn Nets in game 1 of the first round. Offensively, Brown made the adjustment to use Jimmy Butler as the backup point guard, and involve him and Tobias Harris more as primary ball handlers in the pick and roll. Outside of Mike Scott and James Ennis the team didn't have any depth or options for players coming off the bench, this is a huge issue the team needs to address this offseason.
Does Philly need more three and D type players on the wing and a backup big who can protect the rim and play the pick and roll defensively? With Brown back this allows the team to focus on those weaknesses and add those types of players to the roster. This is a team that needs to focus on keeping their core players together by re-signing Butler, Harris, and Redick. They now don’t have to waste time and focus on looking for a new head coach to lead a now experienced playoff roster. After getting literally bounced out of the playoffs at the buzzer I expect Philadelphia to come back hungrier, determined, and with a purpose next year.
Zach Rivera / Contributor
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