Brett Brown a coach at heart … even during break

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Brett Brown a coach at heart … even during break

After the Sixers’ 105-100 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, head coach Brett Brown recommended to his players to completely get away from basketball during the all-star break.

The funny thing is the coach won’t be taking his own advice.

Brown flew from Salt Lake City to San Antonio to spend the weekend with his family, who still makes Texas its home after the coach spent years as an assistant with the Spurs.

Upon arrival in the Lone Star State on Thursday, Brown had about four hours to get ready for basketball practice. Yes, practice at the Spurs practice facility with a group of children under 10 years old.

“The Spurs are just fantastic to me,” Brown said prior to leaving Utah. “I will come in and use their facility and I will coach those kids like I did for five or six years. I miss it.”

The team of children -- the Boomers -- will welcome Brown back with open arms, just as they always did when he would return from a Spurs road trip that forced his absence.

“The team is called the Boomers after the Australian Olympic team,” Brown said proudly. “My assistant coach named them and got fantastic uniforms, and I would run the practices and set up the structure. When I was out of town he would run the whole thing and it has been going on for six years now. I love doing that.”

When asked if he was the head coach, Brown’s mouth immediately formed a smile before he thoughtfully answered.

“I was the director and did about everything,” he said.

Brown has not always coached this particular group, but he has always coached Sam Brown. That’s Brett Brown’s 9-year old son, who is a crafty left-handed point guard.

“He hasn’t met a shot that he doesn’t like, which is a good thing,” Brown joked about his son. “He thinks Steph Curry and Kyrie (Irving) can dribble.”

Brown grew up the son of a coach with Bob Brown being a long-time high school coach in Portland, Maine, as well as being a coach at various college levels.

No matter where the stop on the map, Bob Brown was always a New Englander and that shaped Brett’s Brown’s basketball knowledge.

Brett Brown’s experience with his father was vastly different than what his son has come to know in his nine years. Being an assistant coach in San Antonio for his son’s entire life until this season has enabled Brett Brown to have Sam Brown around NBA players on a daily basis, including all-star weekend.

Brown was a Spurs assistant coach when the staff twice coached the West all-stars in 2005 and 2011. During that second time around, Brett Brown shared the weekend with his son.

“To be able to share the NBA game with my son Sam is just one of the true privileges,” Brown explained. “I can’t express how grateful I am. His version of my Portland, Maine point guard Terry Kenniston for him is Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving and Michael Carter-Williams. To be able to share that experience with your own son is a true privilege.”

Brown’s analogy is classic. As a young point guard he admired the play of Kenniston, who was named to the high school second-team All-Mainers in 1972. Seven years later, Brown himself was named first-team All-Mainers.

Brown won’t just be coaching up his son and other kids during the break. He also planned to spend quality time with his wife and two daughters during the long weekend.

It’s the perfect getaway from the Sixers’ tough 15-39 season.

“It is going to be one of those great weekends with my family,” Brown said.

Sixers-Grizzlies 5 things: Walking wounded duel in Memphis

Sixers-Grizzlies 5 things: Walking wounded duel in Memphis

The Sixers (4-17) open a three-game road trip against the Memphis Grizzlies (14-8) at FedEx Forum on Tuesday night (8 p.m./TCN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Walking wounded
There will be enough players between both teams for the Sixers and Grizzlies to play on Tuesday ... barely.

The Sixers, losers of seven straight, have several key players sidelined for the opener of this road trip. The biggest absence will obviously be Joel Embiid, who will sit out for rest after struggling Monday in the first game of the back-to-back set.

Joining Embiid on the shelf for Tuesday's game will be Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington while Jerryd Bayless is questionable to suit up. That's in addition to Ben Simmons and Nerlens Noel having yet to play this season.

The Sixers won't find much sympathy in Memphis as the Grizzlies' injury situation is actually worse.

After using an NBA record 28 different players last season because of injury, the Grizzlies have already received a hardship exemption from the league this year to sign guard Toney Douglas. That's because the Grizz are currently down five players, including star guard Mike Conley and swingman Chandler Parsons.

2. One big problem
One player who will be suiting up for the Grizzlies is Marc Gasol, which is certainly bad news for the Sixers.

Now in his ninth season, Gasol is playing some of his best basketball. Despite the center's rebounds dipping to 5.7 a game, he is putting up career highs in points (18.9) and assists (4.2).

The Sixers know all too well just how good Gasol has been this season. The two-time All-Star went off for 27 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks in the Grizzlies' double-overtime win over the Sixers on the night before Thanksgiving.

That was before the Sixers got hit even harder by the injury bug. There's no telling what Gasol will do against a team with one available center in Richaun Holmes.

3. Foul play
With so many players not able to take the floor, the Sixers -- Holmes in particular -- would be wise to stay out of foul trouble.

The Sixers average 22.0 fouls per game, the fifth-highest mark in the league.

On the flip side, the Sixers could benefit from attacking the Grizzlies. Memphis is obviously limited with players because of its own injury issues and actually averages 23.8 fouls per game, the second-highest rate in the NBA.

4. Injuries
Bayless (wrist) is questionable. Embiid (rest), Okafor (illness), Covington (knee/illness), Noel (knee) and Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Zach Randolph (personal) is a game-time decision. Conley (back), Parsons (knee), Vince Carter (hip), James Ennis (calf) and Brandan Wright (ankle) are out for the Grizzlies.

5. This and that
- The Sixers have lost eight straight to the Grizzlies.

- The Grizzlies are 10-0 in games decided by five points or less or have reached overtime.

- The Sixers are 1-6 in games Embiid has sat out this season.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.