Brett Brown is a smart guy. He’s knows his situation. And he knows that even when coaching a team that isn’t designed to win many games, it’s still possible to play below your skill level.
“It’s a fact that you do lay an egg from time to time in the NBA over 82 games,” Brown said in his post-game presser following the Sixers’ loss to the Celtics. “And tonight we laid an egg.”
But it’s not just self-awareness and in-game knowledge that displays Brown’s wit. It’s the way he runs his team.
As Zach Lowe wrote in a now fairly-regular “The Sixers aren’t that bad, are they?”-type post, Brown uses advanced stats and sports science to track what his players are doing. He’s like Chip Kelly with fewer wins and opportunistic t-shirt designs from Kyle:
Philly might have more sports science gadgets than any team in the league. In practice, they wear devices from the Australian-based company Catapult that log every player’s exertion level — heart rate, cutting speed, and more. The team hopes to soon display that information in real time, so Brown can know instantly whose body doesn’t seem to be performing correctly.
Players wear sleep bracelets. “I used to just sleep whenever I felt like it,” McDaniels says. “But now I take it seriously.” They have individual water bottles, so that the team can track how much water each guy drinks. “We’re probably overdrinking,” Carter-Williams says.
Brown bought into sports science over three stints as the coach of Australia’s national team, and he is constantly seeking advice from other coaches — including Chip Kelly of the NFL’s Eagles. He wants every player hearing as many mentoring voices as possible. Joel Embiid may not play a second this season, but before a recent Spurs-Sixers game, Brown convinced Tim Duncan to sit with Embiid and talk hoops for about an hour, Brown says.
On how the team has been playing, Lowe said: “They’re just flailing away at a task for which they are overmatched, like the well-meaning but clueless husband trying to build furniture.” That’s about as apt a description you’re going to hear, and now I have nightmares of failed IKEA builds dancing in my head.
As Lowe continues, there’s a lot of talk of “losing habits” and the like, but he doesn’t really buy it. Does Brett?
“I am on the warpath to keep our locker room together,” he told Lowe. “And to not have us break apart as a team.”
That may be difficult, but the more I see from Brett Brown the more I think he’s the right guy for the job. I just hope he doesn’t lose his mind.4 Comments