Brett Brown still has one assistant coaching position to fill. (AP)
Just as the Sixers took their time in hiring Brett Brown, who was announced as head coach on Aug. 14 (118 days after Doug Collins had resigned), so too did Brown take his time assembling his assistants.
He looked to surround himself with people he felt comfortable with and those who would work well with his young roster.
“I don’t feel with this team that it is mandatory for me to surround myself with perspective or wisdom or a guy that has been there and done that,” Brown said. “I feel like this year’s team is about development. It is going to be about teaching and relationships and energy more than NBA wisdom. I respect NBA wisdom, but at this stage what is most important for us is development.”
Wednesday afternoon, when Brown entertained questions from the media, he described how he came to the decisions of hiring the help he had already added: Lloyd Pierce, Chad Iske, Greg Foster and Billy Lange. Of course, Brown’s staff is not yet complete -- he still has one assistant coaching position to fill.
“What I tried to do more than anything is get the staff right,” Brown said. “We looked at international coaches, NBA coaches, college coaches, head NBDL coaches, wild-card coaches, assistant coaches. We were looking at a smorgasbord of names.”
When a team is short on talent, it must look elsewhere to compensate. Brown strongly believes that one can control fitness, defense and running. He is using those three controllable items as building blocks.
“I feel like we are not skipping steps,” Brown said. “We are not cheating the system. We are going about it like we intend on building something. When they hired me that is what I said I was going to do.
“We are busting our tail to put on the floor a product that will compete, be in great shape, that is going to run and can play defense. That is my goal for the program. It is my responsibility to the city and the owners. When you are rebuilding and you are not in the win column as much as you would like to be, things need to be done out of respect. Things need to be done with a work ethic, a toughness, a competitiveness. Those are the qualities I hope our fans see.”
When people think of Brown’s background, they think of the San Antonio Spurs, an organization he worked for from 2002 until departing for the Sixers this summer. The Spurs have won 50 or more games for 14 straight seasons, but in his spare time Brown was also coaching the Australian national team which, unlike the Spurs, was not going to beat anyone with straight-up talent.
“Fitness is just what I believe in,” Brown said. “It has been my blueprint to jobs I have had before. The older you get you actually believe in it even a little bit more. With the Australian team our goal was to be the fittest team in London.”
Brown was referring to his experience of coaching the Australian national team in the 2012 Olympic Games, a team that finished seventh overall.
“We knew we were not going to beat anybody with talent,” Brown said. “As I said before, I have coached eight bartenders. I love them, they are great, they play with physicality, they play with defense and we had to have tremendous chemistry. Those were the cornerstones of the program.”
Brown believes the same can be the cornerstones of a young Sixers team in the 2013-14 season.