Sixers Need Brown � Right Now!

By Eric Williams
Updated: October 13, 2006

PHILADELPHIA—You know, the more I think about it, I genuinely believe that the Philadelphia 76ers should gout out on a limb and rehire former head coach, Larry Brown to take over their once again, floundering franchise.

After a lengthy conversation about the state of the Sixers with my super-knowledgeable 23-year-old son, George, I came to the indisputable conclusion that the Sixers would best be served, by demoting current head coach, Maurice Cheeks, back to the title he once held as Brown�s assistant.

I know the move may not be popular to many Philadelphians who are enamored with Cheeks because of his past ties as a player on the Sixers� last championship winning team way back in 1982-83, but it really is the best move to get the Sixers back on the road to respectability.

Let me count the ways in which Brown would immediately improve this sad-sack team.

The first thing Brown would do is give the Sixers an identity � and we all know what that identity would be now don�t we?

That�s right � a team that plays defense first and hustles on every play, something we haven�t seen in Philadelphia since Brown abruptly left town after the 2002-03 season.

Brown would immediately transform the style of basketball the team currently plays, which, to be honest about it, is a totally clueless � and lackadaisical – brand of basketball, that hadn�t been seen in these parts since before Brown�s arrival, but is now back in full force.

Brown would also teach many of the Sixers young players, how to, as he is fond of saying, �play the right way.�

Meaning that starting center, Samuel Dalembert would immediately be forced to learn three things; how to make a lay-up on a consistent basis, better defensive footwork and how not to goal tend three shots per game while trying to be the greatest shot �blocker since Bill Russell.

If the Sixers did lure Brown out of his forced retirement, it would also mean that general manager, Billy King has finally made a competent transaction � finally. King has been just abut atrocious in his role for the Sixers, taking on immense contracts of over-aged players who are a shell of their former selves (Chris Webber) while signing acquiring far too few talented young player like Andre Iguoadala.

Brown�s arrival would also give Cheeks another few seasons to get a backbone, something he is sorely lacking as a head coach. To put it mildly, Cheeks may be a fine X�s and O�s guy, but he lacks the command and authority Brown would immediately arrive with.

I think many of the same players who give Cheeks half-hearted efforts in many games, would be forced to either hustle on every play or sit next to Brown on the bench for extended periods until they got their act together.

I know demoting Cheeks would neither be a popular move or even one he may want to go along with, but nevertheless, it is the correct move for the Sixers, who have now lost a major portion of the fan base than superstar Allen Iverson so easily attracts � on the road now.

When Brown first left the Sixers, they still could rely on the drawing power of Iverson to attract fans, but now that the team has fallen into the ranks of the putrid, Sixers management can�t even count on that � which is a no-no of epic proportions in the sports world.

Now, for this plan to work, obviously a few sins on Brown�s behalf would have to be forgiven. He left the Sixers acrimoniously, but not so much that some old wounds can�t be healed.

I also steadfastly believe that with a more mature Allen Iverson (I think) Brown and A.I. would co-exist better than ever. I can almost guarantee that if Iverson were asked off the record, he would unequivocally be on board with rehiring Brown. As a matter of fact, I�m sure Iverson realizes at this point of his career, that Brown would undeniably give him the best shot of ever winning a championship title in Philadelphia before he either retires or is traded to another team. As a matter of fact, Iverson is probably kicking himself for causing Brown so many problems � and would relish the opportunity to play for Brown (if not the practices).

Now, I have to be honest in my assessment of the Sixers. Would Brown�s arrival transform the Sixers into legitimate eastern conference contenders? Certainly not � at least not right away.

Many of the teams in the eastern conference have improved since Brown left and have young foundations that are only going to improve over the next couple of seasons (Cleveland, Orlando, Toronto) but Brown�s presence would immediately transform the Sixers from the current 35-win team that they are to one that would win closer to 45 while being more entertaining and competitive.

I think Brown could legitimately have the Sixers back in title contention in three years, which is about perfect for both himself and Iverson. Of course, the Sixers would have to overhaul their roster (by moving Webber first) but Brown does have some players who would fit his style to a tee, including the athletic Iguoadala and first-round draft pick, Rodney Carney, who is a defensive oriented player by nature anyway.

The bottom line is this. If the Sixers want to continue floundering around aimlessly while winning less than 50 percent of their games, then they should stay their current course.

However, if they are interested in returning to their former winning ways, they need to swallow their pride and make Brown an offer � and I�m not talking about $10 million a year either.

If the Sixers make Brown an offer of $6 of 7 million per year for three years, that would probably get the job done � for both Brown and the Sixers � and in the end, isn�t sports all about winning?