Brett Brown Places 4th in Coach of the Year Voting
The Philadelphia 76ers had one of their best seasons in recent history during 2017-18. We had the opportunity to see Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid together on the court finally, Dario Saric showed strong development on both sides of the ball and the Sixers soared to 52 wins and their first playoff appearance since 2012. Since The Process began prior to the 2013-14 season, Brett Brown has been at the forefront. Fast forward to today, that remains the case as Brown now holds the interim title of president of basketball operations following the fallout of Bryan Colangelo's wife and her burner accounts on Twitter.
Say what you want about Brown's occasional inability to blow big leads, but the guy has brought so much more positive than negative in his time with the organization despite all the losing. Brown prides himself on player development and it has shown with guys like Simmons and Embiid, who learned to put their personal egos aside to work together and achieve success on the court. Brett oozes passion and knowledge about the game of basketball and his players, which has given him a great reputation as a coach and a person around the NBA. His work this past season to help the Sixers jump from 28 to 52 wins didn't go unrecognized in the NBA Coach of the Year Voting, as Brown received 11 first place votes, five second place votes and 11 third place votes for a total of 81 points, good for fourth place.
Brown hasn't had a whole lot of time to get used to his new basketball operations role with the NBA Draft taking place exactly two weeks after Bryan Colangelo's departure from the organization. On draft night, Brown had the final say in the trade that sent hometown favorite, No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges, to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith and Miami's unprotected first-rounder in 2021. Even after fans have had time to digest the trade, many will track this deal for months and years to come, especially if it doesn't work out in favor of the Sixers.
While Bridges could have fit in immediately with the Sixers, the organization got their '1B' choice in the draft along with a future, unprotected first round pick in a year where Miami is not projected to be very good. That pick, according to Brett Brown, could be the key to a trade that brings a star to Philadelphia or serve as a lottery pick in the year that high school seniors will be allowed to enter the NBA Draft again.
Brandon Apter is a contributor to 97.3 ESPN and managing editor at SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @bapter23.