In first year, Brown learning he can't do it all

In first year, Brown learning he can't do it all
December 26, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Brett Brown's Sixers begin a five-game West Coast road trip on Saturday in Phoenix. (USA Today Images)

The Sixers' last game seems like eons ago -- a loss in Milwaukee last Saturday that dropped their record to 8-20 with a five-game West Coast swing looming.

Thus far this season the Western Conference has a record of 93-48 against the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are 1-9 against the West and have not won a road game since Nov. 1 in Washington. They're 1-12 on the road.

These are new challenges for Brett Brown, not only because he is a first-time NBA head coach but also because he comes from an organization that has won 50 games or more for 14 straight seasons.

Here’s the good news.

“I have stolen everything we have done from the Spurs, by and large,” Brett Brown said as he discussed the first third of the Sixers' season. “I have tried to bucket up my assistant coaches in more compartmentalized roles. In San Antonio we divided the league up into thirds; I would have a third of the league, Bud (Mike Budenholzer) would have a third of the league and whoever had the other.”

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Brown decided to divide responsibilities among his staff not by the opposition but by parts of the game.

“I have tried to go a little more offense-defense and a pace-type focus,” Brown explained. “It is more of a development focus with Billy [Lange] and Greg [Foster] so I have compartmentalized way more because I have wanted our guys to hear the same voice, the same words and the same points of emphasis. It is a drip feed of the same, same for a year. That is probably where I have done things a little differently than San Antonio."

The difference makes sense -- San Antonio is a veteran group, while the Sixers are a young team with much to learn. Repetition is the mother of learning.

As for Brown, breaking ties with his hands-on-everything approach for that one-third of the league he was assigned to scout has not been easy.

He is learning that having one’s fingerprints on everything is just not feasible when you are in charge of the entire group. Still, convincing yourself that is far more difficult.

“I want to do every video, I want to do every scout report and I need to be involved in obvious, significant ways,” Brown said of his own learning curve. “I feel like delegating and keeping a staff together and me being smart with how I take that information and use it is important, but my nature is to just dive into it all.

“Sometimes that gets you a little burnt out, sometimes that gets you a little frazzled. It is important that I take these 82 games and the situation that I am in and manage it mentally and health-wise and calculate how we deal with this. And I feel OK to date. I think there are some things I have to do better, but by and large I do majority of what Pop (Gregg Popovich) did in San Antonio and brought it here."

Plagiarism is said to be the highest form of flattery. And to think, before the Spurs' current string of 50-plus win seasons there was a 20-62 record to be endured.