Sixers Bought in on Brett Brown’s Defensive Mentality
CAMDEN, NJ (973espn.com) -- A little less than a week from now, the Philadelphia 76ers will finally begin the 2019-2020 NBA season. After weeks of practicing against each other, and playing in meaningless preseason games, the Sixers have one more preseason game to get through before they open the season up against the Boston Celtics.
This year, the team has some major plans. As Sixers' head coach Brett Brown mentioned a few weeks back, he's gunning for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. And how's he going to get there, exactly? Winning with defense.
That's right -- Brett Brown and Elton Brand have built up a roster that has the potential to be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and that's been the message throughout the offseason for the Sixers from the head coach. At this point, the team has bought in.
Nowadays, you can't avoid talking to a Sixers player without hearing the team's master plan on becoming a defensive-focused team. It seems as though Brown's message got through to his players, and they are genuinely up for the challenge this year to becoming the best defensive roster in the NBA.
On the eve of the Sixers final preseason matchup against the Washington Wizards, Brett Brown was asked about what he learned from the 2019 76ers so far. To no surprise, he learned that the team surely has the 'All-Defense' mentality in their heads.
"They co-exist well," Brown said on Thursday in regards to what he's observed these last couple of weeks. "They have bought in -- in a significant way that we are a defensive-oriented team. We are long and can be disruptive."
Brown sure wasn't lying about that fact, as the team accounted for 15 blocked shots on Tuesday night as they faced the Detroit Pistons. Following that matchup, Brown echoed the same sentiment he's been stating the entire preseason. "Defensively, I thought we were solid -- I was most pleased with our defense."
While the Sixers are still a reliable team on the offensive side of the ball, it's become quite clear that defense will be the focal point of the 2019-2020 season. Moments after Brown spoke to the media, Joel Embiid confirmed the team's message without even really being asked about it.
"Defensively, we can accomplish a lot," Embiid said. "You know, we are aiming to be the best defensive team in the league, and we got the right guys to do so -- and it starts on defense, so I'm excited." Soon enough, the path to becoming the NBA's top defensive squad will be open as the Sixers gear up for the new year.