When the Sixers first signed former number one overall pick Kwame Brown and coach Doug Collins instantly pronounced the 11-year vet the team’s starting center, there was a lot of groaning and moaning.
Collins was the coach in Washington when the Wizards selected Brown, then just 19, with the top pick in 2001. The two butted heads repeatedly – I was there and witnessed it first hand – and there were times when the pressure of being picked by Michael Jordan and the high expectations took a toll on Brown.
But Brown, six teams removed from that Washington experiment, has grown up. He’s 30 now and he’s not holding on to past baggage.
“That’s ancient history; this is a fresh start,” Brown said. “This is a new Doug and this is new with me. We’re both older and more mature so we are going to do it a second time around.
“The way I see it, there’s no pressure on me,” Brown continued. “They’ve got Andrew (Bynum) and they’ve got all these other guys that they have high expectations for. That makes it good for me because I can fly under the radar.”
Brown might be one of the guys who benefits from Bynum sitting out the first three weeks of training camp. He’ll be able to play himself into better shape running with the first unit. He looks to be around 290 pounds – give or take 10 pounds – and training camp is the time to cut that weight and get the cardio conditioning up.
So why the Sixers?
“Why not?” Brown said. “They are a young playoff team. I need to have the playoffs in my life. I’m tired of watching the playoffs from the couch. As for my relationship with Doug, we’re both older and more mature. So we’re going to do it a second time around.”