On December 7th, 2019, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown made a public declaration about Ben Simmons. Brown said “This is what I want, I want a three-point shot a game, minimum”. Ever since that day, Ben Simmons has taken a total of ZERO shots from behind the arc. Either not hearing his Coach or tuning out an old family friend, Simmons made it clear he doesn’t want anyone telling him how to play, not even his coach.
Flash forward one month and Brett Brown was finally asked the question on all of our minds. Before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Howard Eskin, a well-known figure in all news Philadelphia Sports, pressed Brown on Simmons’ lack of shooting. Brett Brown, always tip-toeing around feelings, put the blame squarely on himself. Brown did not provide a solution, he stated that he failed and that he also fanned the flames.
Howard Eskin often interrogates instead of interviews, especially when he feels the situation calls for it and this situation clearly called for it. He refused to back down after Brown’s rebuttal and I credit him fully for that. This is a very important point that needed to be addressed. Brown seems to be unable to critique Simmons and while a coach shouldn’t lambaste his player in-front of the media, there must be accountability for blatant disobedience. Brown and Simmons have a relationship that spells trouble for the Sixers’ organization.
There is a long history between Brett Brown and Ben Simmons and it seems very clear that history complicates the relationship. Brown was an assistant coach for Simmons’ father in Australia and has known the family for roughly 30 years. One would hope that Simmons would appreciate Brown and respect his coach’s wishes but that has not been the case.
Brett Brown was correct in saying that he failed. Brown failed coach Simmons, it seems Brown has failed to keep the respect of Simmons who clearly does as he pleases. If Simmons continues on this path he could limit what could be a stellar career. For both of their sakes, a change of approach is needed. Brown must find a way to regain control over this locker-room or the patience of the front office will run out.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports