Sixers coach Brett Brown won’t stop pushing his team to improve, regardless of how it affects Philly’s chances of snagging the top pick in this year’s draft, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. “I don’t know how to coach anymore if that becomes part of it all,” Brown said. “I really don’t. You can’t cheat the game. I get it and I understand it. I just don’t even know how to do my job, otherwise. We go about our business. I can’t walk into the locker room and do anything else for those guys. They want to play hard. They want to compete. Whatever ends up happening, ends up happening. I’m proud of the way we play every night. What we may lack in resumes and birth certificates and all of that, we make up for with big spirit and tremendous team camaraderie, despite what our win/loss record says. This is a spirited group and one that I love coaching.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- While the Sixers still need an upgrade at the point, Ish Smith has shown enough promise that he should factor into the team’s plans for next season, Cooney adds. “He has a clear upside,” Brown said of Smith. “I think that because of his style of shooting – he’s a set-shooter – I can see how he can improve with repetition and encouragement and all those types of things in the next short period of time. Then you have the constant qualities that he’s a hell of a teammate, he’s an athlete, he’s highly competitive. Although he’s been around a lot, it’s not like he’s got a lot of miles on his legs. He really hasn’t played a lot, but he’s been around a lot. For all those reasons, I just feel like his upside is clear.”
- Phil Jackson was hired as Knicks team president to restore faith in the franchise, something he has failed to do during his tenure thus far, Justin Terranova of The New York Post writes. Jackson has fallen in ESPN Insider’s Front Office rankings from the No. 21 spot to the 29th, with only Nets GM Billy King below him.
- A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com looks at the effect that Isaiah Thomas will have on the Celtics‘ lineup and playoff chances now that he’s set to return from his injury.