There are plenty of topics surrounding the Sixers as they return to play, but there is one storyline that has taken a backseat through all this talk. People have been calling for Brett Brown to be relieved of his duties as head coach for years now, and you have to wonder if the league’s restart is Brown’s last chance as coach of the Sixers.

Expectations have been high for this Sixers team since the start of the season, and if those expectations aren’t met there will most likely be another makeover of the team. But with the core of this team locked in for the next few years, the makeover will likely be a coaching makeover.

The question is how far do the Sixers have to go for Brown to keep his job? Some think it’s reaching the conference finals and some think it’s championship or bust. But if the Sixers find themselves knocked out in the second round for the third straight year I would find it hard to believe that Brown keeps his job.

Personally, Brown has to take this team to at least the Eastern Conference finals to retain his position as head coach. Although the regular season did not go as smoothly as we hoped, there is no reason that the Sixers shouldn’t make a deep playoff run. They have a full roster and have had months to heal and prepare, there is no excuse for them to get bounced early in the playoffs.

Being able to adjust is arguably going to be the make or break in whether Brown is the coach of the Sixers next year. Mainly being able to adjust when it comes to the use of Al Horford.

Brown was loyal to the starting lineup of Horford and Embiid together in the frontcourt throughout the regular season, even though the fit was far from seamless. If Brown is not able to adjust when matchups do not favor Horford alongside Embiid, it could be the end of the Sixers’ championship aspirations and Brown’s tenure as head coach.

The final piece of this tricky storyline is assistant coach Ime Udoka. Reports have come out that multiple teams look to interview Udoka for vacant head coaching positions in the offseason. It is no secret that Udoka is one of the top assistant coaches in all of the NBA, and a clear favorite to take over the Sixers if Brown is relieved.

This could put the Sixers in a tricky situation moving forward. If they want to keep Udoka on their sideline then Brown’s seat is hotter than ever. All of these factors are crucial as the pressure has to be on for Brown to deliver if he wishes to remain with the Sixers.

Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.

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