Brett Brown knows what the bottom of the Eastern Conference looks like; now he wants to see the top. The Sixers coach declared his lofty goal during a luncheon speech today, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to get the No. 1 seed,” Brown told the gathering.
It’s a drastic turnaround for a coach who suffered through the worst of “The Process” and won just 10 games during the 2015/16 season. The Sixers are coming off back-to-back 50-win years and are still stinging from their playoff elimination by the eventual champion Raptors on a Kawhi Leonard shot that bounced on the rim several times before falling in.
Philadelphia enters this season as a co-favorite with the Bucks in the East. The team lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick in free agency, but re-signed Tobias Harris and added Al Horford and Josh Richardson.
“We have had back-to-back 50-win teams, we have a 25-year-old All-Star [Joel Embiid] and a 23-year-old All-Star [Ben Simmons],” Brown told Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have the best team I have had this year. We have the deepest bench, we have veterans, we have men, we got pieces. [General manager] Elton Brand has done a hell of a job.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Matisse Thybulle has been medically cleared to practice when camp opens, Pompey tweets. The rookie guard rolled his ankle earlier this week, but the injury turned out to be minor. The Sixers traded up in this year’s draft to get Thybulle with the 20th pick.
- The Knicks have an opening on their roster heading into camp, but they won’t use it to sign Hasheem Thabeet, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thabeet worked out for New York and spent time with the team in August and September. The vacancy occurred because Kris Wilkes, who was expected to sign a two-way contract, is still battling an illness that will prevent him from attending camp.
- Kyrie Irving is day to day after suffering a left side facial fracture, the Nets tweeted. The injury happened during a workout Tuesday.