First things first, I do not hate Brett Brown. I think he is doing a decent coaching job while experiencing the expected growing pains this season coming from both the coaches and players. Some of his 4th quarter line-ups may be questionable, his defensive assignments needing to be tweaked, and his debatable play-calling to close a game rightfully frustrates fans. I can agree that he needs to improve in those situations but it is comical how fans are already calling for his head.
The man has his first legitimate roster and is only a quarter of the way into the season. We have been showing progress, sitting with a winning record for a good portion of the season, something we have not seen in years. Take into account that our strength of schedule has been brutal to begin the year, players are still learning to play with each other, and the man who initiates our offense is only 26 games into his NBA career.
With the excuses aside, Brett Brown still has some glaring weaknesses he needs to clean up. I am obviously not at practice everyday, working with any of the players, or in the video room. I am strictly a fan and if I am able to make these conclusions from watching games live, I really hope someone within the organization is in his ear about them.
Richaun Holmes Needs to Play More
I have always been a fan of Richaun Holmes. The kid plays tough with a ton of energy and it always seems to flow through to his teammates. Last year with Embiid and Okafor both battling injuries, he was putting on 9.8 points per game on 7.2 shot attempts, making them at a 55% clip. His turnover to assist ratio was 1 to 1, a good sign from a big man only in his second year of the NBA. He averaged close to a block and a steal a game as well. You could point out he only averaged 5.5 rebounds per game as a big man, but he was only getting reserve minutes, just over 20 a game.
This year, he has not gotten nearly the playing action he deserves. I know we brought in Amir Johnson for 10 million this year, but Richaun seems to bring more energy on the court. His offensive game is superior to Amir’s and he is much better in transition. Amir has been making some nice blocks and has been aggressive on the boards, but Richaun can match that productivity given the opportunity. It is time Brett Brown figures out how to work Holmes into the rotation more even if it is at the expense of a couple DNP – Coach’s Decision for Amir.
After the game he had against the Pelicans where he was giving both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins fits, he has proven he can bang with the big boys. He will thrive in the transition with either Simmons or McConnell pushing the ball and I would expect his defense to only get better with more minutes. It’s time to start giving him his fair shot Brett.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot Needs His Minutes Cut
TLC is 0/11 on 3 point attempts in his past 5 games. He is taking awful fouls in critical moments of the game. Brett Brown is giving him defensive assignments above his playing level. He is shooting under 26% from the field in the past 5 games. I almost had to replace my roommates 70″ Samsung TV the other night at the expense of his play. He even made me curse in front of a kid at the Lakers game (I apologized to his parents afterwards). For the love of God Brett, stop giving him so many meaningful minutes.
I know Anderson is out which sets TLC up for more playing time, but 19 minutes a game over the last 5 seems way too high for a player putting up the abysmal numbers above. Letting him play through this slump isn’t working. Bench his ass and make him hungry again. Give Korkmaz a shot to play some meaningful NBA minutes. Unfortunately, Covington’s injury further complicates a decrease in minutes for TLC. He should only miss a few games thankfully, pushing TLC back into a bench role.
Personnel Line Ups / Play Calling
First, I hate the amount of time Simmons and Embiid do not share the floor together. They are our franchise cornerstones. Play them at the same time. Additionally, when we are down by a point or two in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, FEED EMBIID. I have seen too many plays drawn up for a perimeter screen and one of our wings tossing up a 3 pointer. If we do not need 3, put the ball in our big man’s hands.
Second, which I have touched on above, Holmes needs minutes. If we need to sacrifice Amir’s playing time, so be it. The addition of Booker seems to have locked him up at the reserve 4 spot behind Dario. I love the reserve frontcourt of Holmes and Booker. Two high energy guys who can create fouls, wreck havoc on the boards, and piss off some starters in the meantime (i.e. The Pelicans game on Sunday).
Lastly, the line-ups he throws are out there are becoming too inconsistent. In order for our players to thrive, we need familiarity at the end of games and in particular situations. We’re over a quarter of the way into the season Brett. We should have these line-ups locked down by now yet you always seem to throw a wild card out there. Coincidence we have already lost 3 one-possession games and plenty others where we were still in the mix at the end of the game? I think not.
Overall, I am not too concerned with Brett’s Brown coaching. We all know some line-ups he puts out there are bone-headed. His play calling could be the reason of blame for some of those last minutes losses, but he will only get better over time. In his defense, we still have a lot of young players who are making costly turnovers. We haven’t exactly been the a clutch team to close out games either, despite those wonderful memories of Covington’s last second tip in and T.J. McConnell’s game winner over Melo last year. As the schedule loosens up, players gain more familiarity with each other’s playing styles, and Brett Brown starts putting us in the right play-call situations, Coach Brown may gain some trust from the fans. In the meantime, welcome to the Philly media Brett. That 4 year long hall pass is no longer valid. Time to prove you can coach.
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Featured Image Photo Credit: zanda.com
All stats provided by Basketball-Reference.com