Sixers' Brown quietly dealing with losing streak
OKLAHOMA CITY - Coach Brett Brown's personality is one that makes him approach things head-on. There is little wiggle room in what he says. It comes from the heart, it is the truth and it is without filter.
So bringing up the current losing streak, which reached 15 games with last night's 125-92 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is expected by the first-year coach of the 76ers. He talks openly and honestly about it. And he charges at it just as he would a 15-game winning streak. He just doesn't bring it up to his team.
"I don't even think I've mentioned it, this streak," Brown said. "We talk candidly about having to make sure we share the ball, don't play in a crowd, get back in transition. Everybody talks about us not winning for the rest of the year, or whatever they say. And that's all true. We have to focus on sharing the ball, playing together and not playing in a crowd because we drive the paint all the time and we don't have great perimeter shooters right now, and we better get back in transition.
"The beat-down thing doesn't really rear its head because it's [losing] 12 games or 14 games or the month of February. We don't quantify it like that. I really try to sell it and I think these guys have bought in. Keep getting better, keep getting better. Winning is not our report card this year. I hope that that is good enough. I hope they believe the truth. That is how we're approaching that and that is all we've got as this season plays out."
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks has been in Brown's shoes, having gone 22-47 in his first season in OKC back in 2008-09. Now with superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at his disposal, Brooks is able to look back on those lean years and give advice how to get through it.
"You have to have a short memory, you can't worry about last night's game," Brooks said. "You have to do your job every day and come with the same energy and passion that allowed you to get the job in the first place. Work your players every day, work them hard and don't give them any days off. That's what we've done for a lot of years, early on.
"It's a great opportunity for Brett. I think he's going to continue to build the culture down there. I wish him well. It's definitely challenging. It's not easy going home knowing you just lost a game and you don't feel good, but you have to bring the energy the next day because you're the leader of the team and they have to feel your passion and your commitment to improvement. I think he's going to continue doing a good job there."
It is basically the blueprint that Brown is following with his young team.
"I really like being on the court with the players," Brown said. "I like coaching the guys and trying to find ways to inspire them or help them get better. We've said from Day 1 [that] I feel the one thing that will help me connect all the dots is if they genuinely know that we care about their development. [Even though] somebody is going to trade them or somebody isn't going to play them as much as they hoped, that they know they have a coaching staff that comes to the gym and really pays attention and cares.
"We want them to play well. Oftentimes I feel so naked where you're playing in the NBA and teams are getting better, yet not only are we young and have been losing, we're getting new faces in. We want to practice and we want to do those types of things where we can continue to develop. That's what keeps me motivated."
On Twitter: @BobCooney76