The Philadelphia 76ers need to initiate foundational change as soon as possible.
After the Philadelphia 76ers’ season ended on the sourest of notes, it was time for a change. Brett Brown was swiftly shown the exit, and Elton Brand — still cozy in his role as GM — declared newly consolidated power as the Sixers’ lead decision-maker.
That is fine. I have advocated for Brand’s departure in the past, but if Philadelphia is dead set on keeping him, he needs to have control. The Sixers’ collaboration fetish in years past has gone too far, and we have now seen the results of such a diluted power structure.
In a press conference following Brown’s firing, Brand confirmed that he alone will lead the Sixers’ search for a new head coach. He also alluded to major changes elsewhere in the front office, citing a full evaluation of how the Sixers reached such a low point.
One issue — nothing has changed.
We are under two months from the tentatively scheduled 2020 NBA Draft, which is set for Oct. 16. The Sixers can get away with not having a coach in place, but ideally, the Sixers should have some level of continuity and certainty in the front office when tasked with making six picks — including a potentially critical selection in the first round.
Brand can have all the power he wants, but if the front office around him doesn’t change — if it’s the same personnel in more rigidly defined roles — then it’s easy to anticipate more of the same. Organizational deep dives take time, but the total silence around Philadelphia’s front office is a bit unnerving.
Not long after the draft, Philadelphia will also face another important free agency period. With no cap space, Brand will need to orchestrate creative trades, ideally to rid the Sixers of Tobias Harris and/or Al Horford. If he cannot do so, it becomes even more crucial to competently work the margins. Bring in effective veteran minimum contributors, and use the room exception to sign someone more impactful than Mike Scott.
If the Sixers are using the firing of Brett Brown as a smokescreen to keep everyone else in place — to operate under the guise of real change without actually changing anything — it will only end in disaster. No one should have confidence in Philadelphia to do the right thing, but even so, it’s strange to have no reports beyond Brown’s departure so far.
The Sixers don’t have a lot of time. This is likely to be a much quicker offseason than we’re used to. If Brand and ownership don’t hold up their end of the bargain, and fail to initiate real changes to the power structure, Philadelphians should set expectations accordingly.