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Sixers mailbag: Is Brett Brown responsible for failings against Boston Celtics?

Sixers mailbag: Is Brett Brown responsible for failings against Boston Celtics?

The Sixers got here out of one of many hardest 12-game stretches you will see on an NBA schedule at 7-5, which included a win over a Warriors workforce that gained 16 out of 17 video games over the span of a month. For many groups, that may have been sufficient to encourage the followers and have everybody feeling good about themselves.

However after a loss to the Celtics this previous Tuesday, all anybody can appear to concentrate on is the boogeyman from Boston coming again to hang-out the Sixers as soon as once more. A loss to Toronto every week prior did not assist issues both, with the story remaining the identical — the Sixers cannot beat the most effective groups within the East.

Naturally, the subject of dialog for a number of this week has been Sixers head coach Brett Brown. With Philadelphia failing to recover from the hump against a hated rival, one lacking Kyrie Irving at that, there have been (exterior) questions on Brown’s qualifications for the job, notably now that the Sixers haven’t any expertise excuse to lean on.

So Brown is the place we’ll begin for this week’s mailbag, as a result of if I’m nothing else, I’m a person of the individuals.

My query to you’d be this: the place is the mismatch that the Sixers are supposedly going to take advantage of on this matchup within the beginning 5 they performed the opposite night time? With Kyrie Irving within the recreation, it is one factor, however they are not precisely ripe to be picked aside when Irving is out of the lineup.

Marcus Sensible is a superb defender. Al Horford is a superb defender. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris are good defenders, with the latter satisfied he is able to stopping LeBron freaking James. That leaves Terry Rozier, who’s the smallest man and the logical guess, however it’s not a weak hyperlink within the chain the identical means JJ Redick is.

The Sixers did attempt to exploit Rozier in mismatches on Tuesday night time, particularly. Philadelphia spent an honest quantity of effort getting him switched onto Butler to let him go to work on Rozier within the mid-post, and the rationale that is not remembered in comparison with what Boston did to pressure mismatches is as a result of Butler settled for dangerous photographs and did not make them. Additionally they acquired Tobias Harris ISO’d on Gordon Hayward a number of occasions, with a type of possessions being waved off for an offensive foul on Harris, a name I assumed was doubtful given how they officiated off-arm contact the remainder of the night time.

Philosophically, I do not assume this Sixers staff is ever going to be the kind of workforce that simply tries to pressure the “right” change on each play to get the perfect one-on-one matchup they will. It is a ball-sharing, movement-based staff, and Brown doesn’t need issues to devolve right into a collection of one-on-one possessions, particularly now that the teaching employees is making an attempt to get 4 stars to purchase right into a staff idea collectively.

The Sixers completely run an offense. They usually have tailored what they do because the new guys have come on board, folding new performs into their offense with a purpose to greatest go well with the expertise at hand.

Out of 104 possessions on Tuesday, the Sixers ran pick-and-rolls on almost a 3rd of their performs. Jimmy Butler’s choice is to be put into these performs as an alternative of dribble handoffs, and he has been getting increasingly more possibilities to run them in current weeks. This is the factor — they do not all the time work, both.

Keep in mind that play late in Tuesday’s recreation that ought to have been a foul on Horford? Earlier than Joel Embiid was looking for out contact, the Sixers tried to run a Butler/Embiid pick-and-roll. It devolved from there, however the sequence is instructive:

Butler picks up his dribble too early right here, in any other case, the Sixers have choices. Gordon Hayward has to assist on Embiid with Horford and Tatum converging on the ballhandler, and that is a mismatch the Sixers will take any day of the week within the paint. However with Ben Simmons occupying the dunker’s spot, Hayward can principally cowl two guys directly, and that purchased Horford time to modify again onto Embiid because the offense resets, ultimately resulting in the non-call.

(They might have additionally used a greater display from Embiid right here, IMO.)

That is type of my overarching drawback with the dialog about Brown. I feel he’s usually sluggish to regulate (a training basic, FWIW) and I feel they need to be enjoying leaner/extra athletic appears of their bench unit, however there are not any clear-cut solutions whenever you’re constructing a workforce round a post-up huge and a 6’10” level guard who cannot shoot past six ft.

But when the Sixers are operating pick-and-roll units within the last minute of a recreation, and doing so all through the sport with everybody right down to Furkan Korkmaz serving because the ballhandler, there are changes being made. Chances are you’ll not just like the outcomes, however the Sixers try new issues and fleshing out totally different ideas.

As of proper now, it appears like Boban Marjanovic is getting all of the backup middle minutes, and that is the world the place I put criticism on Brown’s doorstep. 

Jonah Bolden being taken utterly out of the rotation is foolish to me, particularly within the matchup against Boston the opposite night time, when there was rather more to study from enjoying him in comparison with Boban. Perhaps this modifications earlier than the playoffs, however there is no cause for Boban to be a nailed-on a part of the rotation.

Boban is 30 years previous, and the ebook on him is out. Groups that unfold the ground and make him do something aside from stand close to the rim can exploit him, which is why he has been a task participant regardless of being an actual weapon close to the rim on the different finish of the ground. There’s close to zero probability he will actively assist the Sixers against the Celtics or any comparable group within the playoffs.

So why not get Bolden minutes there? Let the child sink or swim against a staff you may see within the playoffs as a result of we all know a lot much less about him than we do about Boban’s potential to carry up.

As all the time, a number of this depends upon context. If the Sixers go to the Convention Finals and lose in a tough fought, seven-game collection? It appears unlikely they’re shifting on in that case. In the event that they exit within the first spherical to Boston, not placing up an excessive amount of of a struggle alongside the best way? Totally different story.

This is one thing to think about — the “Fire Brett Brown!” dialog is actually simply chatter from followers at this level. Possession has all the time held him in excessive regard, the gamers like him, and there hasn’t been a single noteworthy report about his job safety from the second the group truly put some expertise on the roster.

Expectations have modified for everybody within the group, definitely, however barring an unsightly, early loss within the playoffs, I do not actually assume seeds have been planted for an ouster. Until Elton Model is harboring unwell will that we merely have not seen or heard about, in fact. 

It is perhaps Mike Scott? This can be a robust one. However I feel Scott is the one man on their bench who can anticipate his position to remain comparatively constant because the Sixers head into the playoffs.

T.J. McConnell is necessary, however his position may change if Jimmy Butler takes backup level guard minutes within the playoffs. The large man rotation, as famous above, is a bit in flux. James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons have not finished a lot to impress to date, although I think about the previous will finally take plenty of the backup wing minutes which are being competed for proper now.

Scott might be in that rotation just about it doesn’t matter what, and I would not be stunned if he was a part of non-traditional lineups the Sixers might flip to within the playoffs. If Brown does not belief Bolden and Boban is unplayable, you may see one thing like Butler-Redick-Harris-Scott-Simmons, or lesser variations with a type of stars (or realistically, Redick) hitting the bench. I would not put cash on it, however together with his power and the best way the highest of the East groups might look within the playoffs, he might even find yourself enjoying some small-ball middle.

Honestly, in all probability too early to say. However since he is within the rotation and shall be counted on at each ends, that is my decide for now.

The Sixers prioritizing Boban over an improve at backup level guard suggests sure, McConnell will nonetheless be right here. In the event that they thought this was a brief or long-term concern, I think about they might have simply pushed for Patrick Beverley within the Clippers deal as an alternative.

So if we’re studying the tea leaves, I say sure. He is an excellent tradition man, and he nonetheless has utility in sure matchups.

I feel this quote appeared extra innocent if you truly watch/take heed to him say it in context of the complete quote. You pay attention and inform me what it looks like to you, as a result of I feel it sounds extra like reward for his new coach than any shade at his previous staff.

However I am going to put it like this — if it is in any respect a shot at his former group, that might say much more about Fultz than it will about anyone within the Sixers group. They fought for him and offered him help internally, pumped him as much as the general public, and gave him a beginning spot that he by no means earned which undercut the group’s greatest gamers/lineup to start out the yr, all in an effort to empower him whereas he was going via a troublesome time. And, by the best way, the child was given extraordinarily beneficiant remedy from the followers, to the credit score of a Philadelphia fanbase that is not all the time recognized for endurance.

If he is turning round and utilizing that against his previous group, disgrace on him. I do not consider that is the case, however you by no means know.

I do not assume that is tremendous difficult. You may give both man the ball and have them assault out of the pick-and-roll, and odds are it may be a fruitful possession for Philadelphia.

A number of the Sixers’ greatest performs on Tuesday against Boston have been very primary seems with Butler and Embiid on the middle of it. When Al Horford truly has to fret about an opposing ballhandler on prime of worrying about Embiid, he is human identical to anybody else. The trick is making him work past having him battle with Embiid within the publish, the place he is definitely as much as the duty.

Utilizing Embiid as a screener is one other method to confuse groups. They pay him a lot consideration that eyes will comply with him, and that may unencumber gamers like Harris for straightforward seems.

You’ll be able to’t use the large fella as a screener/decoy continually until you need to lose his engagement degree, nevertheless it’s an efficient counter to groups overhelping on him.

A variety of this was only a product of the Celtics attacking/searching Redick. The Celtics ran an insane quantity of their crunch-time offense via Marcus Sensible on Tuesday, and he stored exploiting the athletic hole between the 2 gamers.

I talked with some Sixers staffers over the previous few days, although, they usually appear to really feel okay about their common ideas right here. One suggestion I heard floated is that they believed that they merely overhelped on Sensible, and as soon as the ball began to swing it did not take lengthy for Boston to hit an open three.

There’s some fact to that — if you are going to let any Celtics participant attempt to beat you on offense, Sensible is the one. With much less dishonest from the opposite gamers and a few lineup tweaks, I feel they will be okay. Keep in mind, the Sixers went offense/protection with Redick and Jonathon Simmons late within the fourth, and that possession produced a turnover from Boston. Typically, it is so simple as a personnel swap.

That being stated, sure, Redick is completely going to minimize the stretch of a playoff collection. I feel Brown might be a bit of extra forceful with offense/protection subs when he has the prospect to, however finally the Sixers will need to have their two greatest shooters on the ground in crunch time. The Embiid/Redick performs are a pivotal a part of their late-game offense, and it is nonetheless a two-way sport, in any case.

I might lean Ennis as a result of I’ve some confidence he will shoot. My nine-man rotation would in all probability be Simmons-Redick-Butler-Harris-Embiid with a Bolden-Scott-McConnell-Ennis bench, and I might swap Simmons in for considered one of McConnell or Ennis relying on the seems you are going to.

There’s a part of me that believes this, sure. The Bucks have some exploitable items in a playoff collection (I do not belief Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic to carry up defensively), they usually have but to win a playoff collection as a gaggle. The truth is, the final time the Bucks gained a playoff collection was in 2001, once they ended up dropping to the Sixers within the Japanese Convention Finals.

That being stated, I might warning against taking the Bucks frivolously. They’ve been a regular-season juggernaut, they usually have one of many solely gamers within the league who can declare to be on or above Embiid’s degree this season. We do not have principally any proof of what this matchup will seem like — the Sixers have performed only one recreation against the Bucks this season, and it got here pre-Butler commerce on the second night time of a back-to-back.

I do not assume there is a “good” choice out of this group. Let’s examine the place issues stand after one other matchup with Boston and some extra against Milwaukee, as a result of there’s nonetheless rather a lot to be discovered.


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