Brett Brown brings winning pedigree to Sixers

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Brett Brown brings winning pedigree to Sixers

Everyone loves a winner.

Brett Brown, the Sixers’ new head coach and 24th in franchise history, has had the good fortune of being around winning people for as long as he can remember.

“How lucky am I to be around the coaches I have been around?” Brown asked Wednesday at his introductory press conference. “I have been around Hall of Fame coaches. Coach (Gregg) Popovich is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Rick Pitino, in September, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Last year, Lindsay Gaze, who is sort of the Pete Carril of the South Pacific with his motion offense, was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. And my father, who raised me, has been inducted into the New England Hall of Fame. That is my background. The son of a coach, I have been around the game my whole life.”

Brown touched upon the many coaching influences he has had throughout his life. Perhaps the biggest one of those is Popovich, who Brown has spent the last 13 years with in the Spurs organization.

The longest-tenured coach in the league, “Pop” has a certain way of doing things. Members of his staff and his players understand you don’t venture far away from those principles.

“The first word that comes to mind is accountability,” Brown said of Popovich’s approach. “A mistake made against the Miami Heat in Game 6 is dealt with like we would deal with a mistake made at Charlotte in January. There is a brutal honesty in regards to accountability.

“There is a human side of Pop that a lot of people just don’t understand. He is a good man, but there’s a toughness and a competitiveness and a demanding, non-negotiable stance that you can’t help but bring with you. It is highly influencing.”

While having the right mentality goes a long way, Brown will be the first to tell you that NBA franchises win with stars. The Sixers will need to develop a star or attract one in free agency some time during Brown’s tenure in order to get the team among the league’s elite.
Brown was spoiled in San Antonio because the Spurs had a roster with three stars in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

“Those three guys are pretty special and the fact that they have been with that franchise their whole career is very unique,” Brown said. “Those guys are different cats character-wise. They come to practice, they buy in, there is a discipline to their attitude, a discipline to their diet and a discipline to showing up on time. They genuinely care. They want to get better.

“Isn’t it interesting when you ask somebody if they really want to get better? Some people like that question. Some people, it takes them back. It is a strong, honest question and those three guys really display what a professional does and needs to do.”

Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have 21 All-Star selections between them. The Sixers’ roster is currently void of any All-Stars. However, Brown believes the roster he has inherited is full of “workable pieces.”

“I have always been a fan of Thaddeus (Young),” Brown said. “I see in Evan (Turner) just that potential. You see the versatility of Spencer (Hawes). You get a taste of Michael Carter-Williams from what he did in college. I think you see what a healthy, fit Lavoy (Allen) could bring to the table.

“I think there are pieces there that we can build around, and I think there is a toughness that the city almost demands. I really look forward to seeing the young guys that we are going to try and bring along.”

Brown, who initially joined the Spurs as the director of player development, spoke highly of San Antonio’s tools for helping players progress. Just as he wants to maintain Popovich’s sense of accountability, Brown also plans to follow a similar model for bringing players along.

“I have seen guys over the years get floaters and jump shots,” Brown said. “I saw for many years people go under pick-and-rolls on Tony Parker and we learned how to take advantage of it, and he became a better shooter and so on. Everybody has his own road map.”

Brown begins his journey with the Sixers after securing a four-year contract from the organization. He understands winning and even more so the work ethic that must be put in to reach a championship level.

“I have been a part of five NBA championships and we won four,” Brown said. “I have been a part of five Game 7s. You appreciate how hard it is to be playing in May and how really hard it is playing in June.”

Brown’s challenge has officially started this August and the Sixers hope one day it can end with a championship in June.

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber. 

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.

"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley. 

Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.

"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. 

"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.

To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above. 

 

 

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

Team USA overpowers Argentina in 1st Olympic exhibition

LAS VEGAS -- New team. Same old result.

Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. men's basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.

A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shooting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

"There's a willingness from these guys to work on anything we need and to work hard," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "These are very good guys."

A U.S. team that hasn't lost a game in 10 years had little trouble with Argentina, which some consider a medal contender in Rio. Paul George scored 14 first-half points, Kevin Durant added 12, and the U.S. blew open the game early before an appreciative crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.

Even with Bryant retired and James taking this Olympics off, there was no real talent drop off on a team heavily favored to win gold once again. The depth of the U.S. showed as coach Mike Krzyzewski rotated players in and out, searching for the right combinations on a team with 10 new players from 2012.

"Nothing is for sure," Durant said. "We want to get this gold and right now we have a job to do. We have to prepare the right way."

Count the Argentines among those who were impressed at the first real game for the Olympic team.

"Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world," Argentina's Luis Scola said. "That's a big difference in their favor."

The game was the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio to defend the gold medal. The U.S. team has spent the last week practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the tour and the games.

There weren't any opening night jitters, though the U.S. shot only 45 percent and missed all but 14 of 41 3-pointers. With DeMarcus Cousins pulling down 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes, the U.S. dominated inside, outrebounding Argentina 53-30.

"The big thing is getting in shape and they are not there where they will be," Krzyzewski said. "But we really have an inside presence on the boards."

For Durant the game was a chance to play with a pair of his new Golden State teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It was also a chance for Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- the only two players from the 2012 team -- to demonstrate that this will be their team in Rio.

Both players cheered from the bench as the minutes were spread around, jumping up to clap for teammates. Every U.S. player got quality time, with Green's 12 minutes the least played by any American.

"We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves," Anthony said. "If it's not fun it's not worth it. We're going to enjoy ourselves but at the same time we're going to be focused in trying to get that gold medal."

Durant finished as the game's high scorer with 23 points, while George had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17. Andres Nocioni had 15 for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili added 11 for Argentina, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics.

Though at times little defense was played, there was plenty of offense to keep the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena happy. The teams combined to put up 70 3-point attempts, 41 of them from the U.S.

Oddsmakers had made the U.S. a prohibitive 29.5-point favorite in what at times looked a lot like an NBA All-Star game. But while the U.S. team is loaded with 12 NBA players, the Argentines had only three on their roster and the talent difference showed.

While the team is full of new players, the gold medal run will be the last for Krzyzewski, the national coach for the last decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over.