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Sep 23 2013

Brett Brown on Noel, MCW, and why he took the Sixers job

If you’re wondering why Brett Brown would leave basketball utopia in San Antonio to join a 76ers team that’s openly gunning for the worst record in the league, you’re not the only one.

On Sunday, Brown joined Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix for his NBC Sports Radio program, “The Chris Mannix Show.” Once Mannix got done asking Brown about the pain of losing such a close battle in the 2013 Finals, he turned his attention to the challenges that lie ahead for the new Sixers coach. (You can check out the full transcript here.)

First, Mannix asked Brown what made the Sixers job appealing to him:

I think the more research that I did on Philadelphia, the fact that it’s in such a great city, very similar to me from my Boston days, in relation to it’s sport-minded, it’s demanding, it’s tough, it’s a no-nonsense type of sporting city. If you can get it right, I believed in Sam Hinkie, I believed in Josh Harris, and David Blitzer, and Art Wrubel, and David Heller, the four of them, were a pleasure to speak with. And the direction of the program and the financial resources available, the new practice facility coming in a few years, maybe we get lucky with a ping pong ball, and money to attract free agents, and a fantastic city. It all sort of weighed up to a calculated risk, that I think this is a great situation and I’m really grateful that they selected me as their coach.

On Nerlens’ Noel’s timetable for recovery from ACL surgery, Brown said:

There really isn’t [one]. You know, everything is influenced by what’s best for him in regards to his health. We saw Derrick Rose go through the year last year. They opted to sit him in exchange for caring for his health. It’s a similar situation here with Nerlens. We’ll be advised by the doctors on how he’s feeling. The long answer is no.

Finally, Mannix turned his attention to Michael Carter-Williams, who’s going to be thrown in the fire this upcoming season, for better or worse. Mannix compared him to the rawness of Tony Parker at the start of his career, and asked Brown about the keys to “keeping him steady over the next couple of years.”

I think when you look at development, the thing is really trying to combine a holistic approach with bottom line stuff. What does he do in the weight room, what’s his day-to-day health issues? Everybody responds and learns in different ways. How do we develop his body, how do we develop his jump shot? The easy answer is to say, ‘Let’s get him a jump shot.’ We saw that with Tony, when everybody went under pick-and-rolls, and they still do, and he’s learned how to take his speed and take that space and create havoc in the NBA. He’s a prolific scorer. I think that Michael Carter-Williams, with his instincts to pass the ball, and his just God-given length, he’s just a natural point guard, all of those things come to my mind.

When it comes to Noel and Carter-Williams, Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD also published a great read on Monday about their relationship prior to joining up in Philly. One juicy tidbit from Noel that should pique your interest:

“Sam is just a genius, thinking of something like that– rafting two players who played AAU together and already have a great relationship. And it’s the point guard and big man relationship too, which is big. You have to give Sam a lot of credit for that, for building that as the foundation of the organization.”

Consider me sold.