Brett Brown is nearing 100 games with Philadelphia, and not many coaches had fewer victories when they got there.
Brown is stuck on the 19 he had last season, heading into his 96th game on Monday against Portland. With the upcoming schedule also including Dallas and San Antonio, who both hammered the 76ers (0-13) this season, Brown might remain in the teens longer.
Coaches are often judged by their records, and Brown realizes that. But if the 76ers aren't prioritizing their mark, is it fair for anyone to scrutinize his?
"We understand this isn't a video game," he said. "This is the NBA, and the mission at hand is hard, but the judgment of me, you know, I'm not young anymore and I enjoy this challenge and I really enjoy — despite our record — coaching these guys."
Mike Woodson had just 15 victories in his first 100 games with Atlanta in 2004-05. The other coaches who failed to win 20, according to STATS, were Vancouver's Brian Winters (17 in 1995-96), Miami's Ron Rothstein (19 in 1988-89) and Cleveland's Bill Fitch (19 in 1970-71).
Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie is sacrificing the present to build for the future, and plenty of coaches before Brown learned that a mastery of Xs and Os is no match for a rebuilding plan.
Mike D'Antoni averaged 58 victories in four full seasons in Phoenix, then lost 103 in his first two in New York. Avery Johnson came to the Nets with the highest winning percentage in NBA history, which took a beating while the franchise awaited its move to Brooklyn.
"I always used to say in the coach's role: General managers are thinking three to five years ahead, coaches are thinking one to three games ahead. That's about as far as they can see," Knicks President Phil Jackson said.
Yet Brown, part of four title winners in San Antonio and son of a coach, is the rare coach who is looking at the big picture.
"I didn't accept this position to pad my resume," he said. "I took it with the real challenge that if we could pull this off, in the city of Philadelphia, that you're never going to probably go through something as personally rewarding, as personally challenging than what we're going through."
Here are some things to watch this week:
CHARTING THE CAVS: Cleveland has dropped four straight and is a disappointing 5-7, but plays its next four at home, starting Monday against Orlando.
WIGGINS VS. PARKER: Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, the top two picks in the draft, meet for the first time Wednesday when Minnesota hosts Milwaukee. Both swingmen surpassed 20 points in a game for the first time last week.
HELLO, OLD FRIENDS: The Knicks and Dallas meet Wednesday for the first time since their June trade that sent Tyson Chandler back to the Mavs with Raymond Felton and brought Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin to New York.
AND THE WINNER IS?: Memphis and Sacramento meet again Sunday while still waiting to see if the Grizzlies' 111-110 victory in their first meeting stands. The Kings contend Courtney Lee's winning shot should've been too late and protested. The NBA plans to rule by Dec. 2.
GET WELL SOON: The regular season turns a month old this week, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade already missing all or too much of it.
STAT LINE OF THE WEEK
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies, 30 points, 12 rebounds on Sunday in a 107-91 victory over the Clippers. That made it two straight 30-point games for Gasol, the former Defensive Player of the Year who is looking better than ever offensively.
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