Brett Brown on Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, and reporters

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 08:00 AM

Chris Mannix had Brett Brown on The Chris Mannix Show yesterday.  You can read the full transcript of it on The Chris Mannix Show’s Facebook page.

There were a couple of parts which I’d like to highlight, with the most important being:

Nerlens Noel’s recovery timeline

The entirety of Sixers nation spent last season waiting.  Waiting to see Bynum in training camp.  Waiting to see Bynum return.  Having timetables given, then taken away.  Then finally waiting for the season to mercifully end.

For Nerlens Noel, there is no timetable.

“There really isn’t. You know, everything is influenced by what’s best for him in regards to his health. We saw Derrick Rose go through the year last year. They opted to sit him in exchange for caring for his health. It’s a similar situation here with Nerlens. We’ll be advised by the doctors on how he’s feeling. The long answer is no. ” — Brett Brown on Nerlens Noel.

That, of course, is the right approach to take.  The longer he sits, the more some in the media will worry, perhaps even criticize.  The more comparisons he will draw with Andrew Bynum.  But it’s absolutely the right approach to take.

An ACL isn’t a degenerative condition.  If he takes his time, rehabs right, and doesn’t rush back, he should have a long term positive prognosis.  There’s no reason to rush him back days/weeks/months early.  Especially with the ability to have a rehab assignment with the 87ers, where they can control his minutes and get him back into game shape, how many games he plays with the 76ers is of little consequence.  Sure, it would be great to see him play 20-30 games at the end of the season, but not if there’s any risk whatsoever.

On Michael Carter-Williams development

“I think when you look at development, the thing is really trying to combine a holistic approach with bottom line stuff. What does he do in the weight room, what’s his day-to-day health issues? Everybody responds and learns in different ways…I see it being more than just shooting a lot of jump shots to improve his jump shot. It may be the bottom line, but I feel that with all my young players, we really need to look at, again, a more holistic type of approach.”

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what he means by this, and I would have loved a follow-up question.  I get that there’s more to it than just repetition, and conditioning is a huge factor.  Having scouted many players over the years for DraftExpress, there are more than a few who you can see their jump shots come up short later in the game after carrying a heavy offensive burden or after chasing around a defender.  But a few more specifics would have been nice.

Also, if you read through that article he talks about conditioning constantly.  It will be interesting if this on conditioning has any impact on some of his inherited players (RE: Kwame Brown, if he’s still on the roster, and Evan Turner, specifically).

On his confidence with ownership / management

“I actually feel in hindsight that [the long hiring process] helped me, because it enabled me to research owners, it enabled me to research the new general manager, and new CEO. ”

“I had Candy Land in Spur land. If you think about it, I’ve been lucky to win 50 games in all of my 12 years in the league, and I had a very secure role with Pop, next to Pop and a great organization. And I’ve got a young family. To make a move, it better be for the right one…If you can get it right, I believed in Sam Hinkie, I believed in Josh Harris, and David Blitzer, and Art Wrubel, and David Heller, the four of them, were a pleasure to speak with. And the direction of the program and the financial resources available, the new practice facility coming in a few years, maybe we get lucky with a ping pong ball, and money to attract free agents, and a fantastic city. It all sort of weighed up to a calculated risk that I think this is a great situation and I’m really grateful that they selected me as their coach. “

This is all stuff he’s said before, but you really get the sense that he buys into the philosophy.  That’s very important.  Having the front office and coach on the same page — who to develop, what kind of offense to run, what the priorities are — is a great advantage.

On reporters

“I don’t have that kind of resume to ask somebody in the audience of the media if they’ve actually been at the game after they ask some type of question. So I’m going to roll the dice my own way, but you gotta love Pop, don’t you?”

“We get a kick out of it, because after the game, all the coaches we get together and have some food, we talk about the game. Inevitably, the press conference is on the TV while we’re eating. I have to tell you that we all find it quite humorous, the anxiety that he does place on a lot of people.”

As somebody who has been credentialed over the past few years, *phew*.  But as somebody who thinks Popovich’s press conferences are insanely entertaining, that’s a shame.  Hey, maybe in 4 years once he builds up the clout needed to answer in a similar manner?  Guess the door’s still open.  I’m not sure I see that personality in Brown, though.

Link: Chris Mannix’s interview with Brett Brown [The Chris Mannix Show’s Facebook Page]


Derek Bodner

Derek Bodner is a credentialed reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers independently for He is also a college basketball scout for, and an NBA contributor for The Ringer. Contact Information: / @DerekBodnerNBA

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  • reedsinwv

    Hi, I am a first time commenter and a long time follower on liberty ballers. I feel that their slow and methodical approach to Noel is the correct path to take. We (the rabid fans) want instant gratification because of the torture we have endured in the past. Patience is the only way we will be able to see the Hinkle’s vision.

    • Derek Bodner

      Totally agreed. Thanks for visiting the site.

  • Howardmgm3

    Hi Derek….
    Long time Philly sports fan. Have felt that you have the most insightful thoughts on both the Sixers and the NBA draft since I first started seeing your comments on RealGM a number of years ago. Have tried to follow you around but this site will make it much easier. I find that too many of the writers on Liberty Ballers try TOO hard to be funny when it is not necessary to be funny in EVERYTHING that one writes. Pick and choose and you get it. Thanks…Howard from Bethlehem

    • Derek Bodner

      Thanks, Howard.
      I like a lot of the writers over there, and some of them do a good job of mixing humor up in there. I’m still doing a podcast with Rich, so there’s still a bit of a relationship with LB that exists there.
      Also, never knew you were in Bethlehem. I grew up in Emmaus and have relatives in Fountain Hill and Bethlehem. Love the area.

      • Howardmgm3

        You and Rich gave the most basketball insight over there. The others have
        some good points every now and then but it almost seemed like a contest at times as to who could make the most “clever” humorous articles. You and Rich knew when to pick and choose when to do it. I grew up in Levittown and went to Muhlenberg. Have been living in Bethlehem since 1983 and love it here! Good luck…Howard

        • Derek Bodner

          I wouldn’t even say I picked my spots. I’m just very funny, honestly, so I don’t try all that much. I’m better in person.

  • Hey Derek big follower of you on Twitter nd Liberty Baller. I have 3 question I wuld like yu to indulge on.
    1)Who do yu feel will be the sixers opening day startn 5?
    2) Do yu feel Arnett Moultrie Can be a significant factor in the NBA?
    3) I remember yu scouted MCW mid season around Jan what shuld we expect statically realistically from him this year

    • Derek Bodner

      1) Good question. Not entirely sure. I think MCW and Turner are definitely going to start, as are Thad and Hawes. The last spot could be interesting. It could be Lavoy (or even an outside shot of Moultrie) and move Thad to the 3, but I’m not really in favor of that because I think long term Thad’s a 4. You could even see someone from left field like James Anderson start because of his shooting. I’m not sure there’s necessarily a good option, to be honest, which I guess is a good thing.
      2) Can be? Yes. Will be? Not so sure. I’m not sure he has the work ethic to get into optimal shape and make himself into a good enough defender and defensive rebounder.
      3) 9 points, 5 assists, 37% shooting is what I think he’ll do. Probably less minutes than most are expecting, maybe 25 or so.

  • tk76

    Aside from MCW and Noel, do you expect anyone on the current roster to be with the team in 2 or 3 years?

    2 years after the Sxiers drafted Iverson the entire roster from the season before he was drafted was gone (as well as the entire front office IIRC.) These are the Clarence Weatherspoon years- so I’m finding it a bit tough to get interested in the team. Not so much concerned about dealing with losses- bt with watching a bunch of placeholders whose performance and development will hold little bearing on the future beyond guaranteeing lottery balls.

    Usually this time of year I’m really fired up for the season. this is the first time a I can remember being so disinterested- even though I remain a long term fan and am completely on board with this process. I’m just not sure what exactly i should be looking for when i watch this years team- especially with Noel out.

    • tk76

      Also, any plan to add editing for replies?

      Also, any plans on a point/counterpoint format for blog entries either with Brian or someone at LB (sort of a written complement to the podcast?)

      • Derek Bodner

        I got the website up in 24 hours, man. Easy 🙂

        But yeah, editing replies should happen.

        As for your second point, I think that’s a good idea. I hadn’t really thought of it, but that sounds good. I think Brian’s fairly swamped work wise, but I’ll reach out to some other guys, either at LB or some of the other bloggers and/or writers I’ve come in contact with over the years.

        • tk76

          One more thing- please turn off the “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail
          ” being on by default. It is a nice option, but it should be default off to prevent a wave of email to my inbox.

    • Derek Bodner

      Thad has a chance. A fairly good one I think, actually.

      And yeah, this year’s going to be tough. I’m not nearly as high on MCW as most, and Noel’s not going to play for a long time, so there’s really not even all that much to get excited about in terms of player development, either.

      • tk76

        Yeah, I just don’t see MCW as more than a good back-up or lower echelon starter down the road. And he will likely be particularly exposed this year as a rookie on a terrible team. I don’t think he is a terrible asset, but lacks the ceiling of Jrue, let alone true elite potential.

        Even with a solid jumper- which could happen in a few years, MCW lacks the explosiveness, strength or lightning quickness to ever be a really top flight PG.

        • Derek Bodner

          I think we’re mostly in line with that.

          I do probably have his upside rated higher than you, not necessarily elite, but above average if he can develop a legitimate off the dribble jump shot, but I think that’s a big if.

          • tk76

            I think it also has to do with how well his court vision and leadership ability play out on an NBA level. Not really that easy to judge how his Syracuse years will translate (especially given Cuse’s recent PG’s.)

            I don’t think anyone though a guy like Nash would dominate the NBA the way he did, so sometimes guys can surprise you once their skills are freed up in the NBA.

      • tk76

        It would be great to see Thad on a elite sixer team some day (maybe bring back an old Iggy towards the end too.) Those guys went through a lot for the franchise- keeping it respectable most year despite yearly coaching changes and a lack of an alpha star to carry the load. As a fan we hate mediocrity, but you have to respect the players who are asked to carry such a heavy load for a middling team and consistently work on their game.

        • Derek Bodner

          Well, you know me. I’ve always been huge fans of both of those players.

          • tk76

            I have tremendous respect for Iggy as a professional and love his knowledge of the game as documented in extended interviews (defensively.)

            I do think his demeanor in the media was a bit off-putting in how he constantly played the “fans don’t respect me but my peers understand” and his attitude towards his specific skill set (with regards to outside shooting and the role he could play.) Sort of comes across as having a bit of an inferiority complex in relaxation to other stars. But certainly understandable given how he was viewed by many of the WIP type fans.

    • In my opinion, no, and you can’t even project MCW here in 2-3 years(I’ll give a bit of leeway for Brown’s development team). But he has ALOT of work to do. MCW’s PG mechanics aren’t as good as you’d like out of college guard. Too often he picked up his dribble, deer headlights. His handles themselves are Evan Turner-esque(which is to say they’re average but not good enough at the NBA level). Everyone makes a “deal” out of his jumper(which isn’t to say it’s a concern) but his first step is grossly over-rated. It’s good, but not great by NBA standards and his finishing percentage struggled even in college.

      Even his touted court vision is mixed, while at times he can make spectacular plays, at other times he’ll make errant and I mean really bad passes either out of bounds or right in the hands of a defender.

      And on that note, MCW sometimes hesitates despite his first step, totally taking away any leverage he does have. TLDR: I don’t see MCW starting for any team, under any circumstances. He just doesn’t have the kind of game an NBA PG should have. He’s not even a Mike James/Lou Williams gunner. His worst case scenario IMO is Marko Jaric. That is to say, totally utter scrub.

      Everyone else on the roster, except and maybe not even Thad(since Noel is a 4 to me and if you play Noel at the 5, Thad isn’t big enough physically to compensate) either don’t have the talent or the pedigree or both to even remotely expect them to be a part of a playoff team in 2-5 years. We’re starting from the bottom of the bottom of the barrel IMO.

  • tk76

    Quick question based off of the comments on professionalism-

    Is there any consensus among the analytic camp on how to integrate non-measurables into player evaluation- particularly with regards to potential player development. You can usually guess a players ceiling looking at their measurables and tape- but how about quantifying the likelihood that they reach their ceiling?

    For example, a guy like Andre Miller entered the league with issues limiting his upside that have never really been fixed. And the guy does not even seem to stay in the greatest shape more of a gym rat than a weight room guy.) But he is smart enough to maximize his skills and seems like a student of the game.

    Then there are guys like Thad and Iggy and Jrue- who seem tremendously dedicated and professional and yet have holes in their games that seem unlikely to get fixed, but they can develop into second tier players with unique elite skills that can be maximized if given the right direction.

    I know scouts that rely on analytics apply them in a broader framework of overall “traditional” evaluation. But is there some sort of standardized way “likelihood of reaching ceiling or exceeding expectations” is rated and how does this get translated into the more reliable metrics?

  • CM

    I’m hoping that his views on development, specifically regarding MCW, mean that he’s not just going to stick him out there for 30 minutes a night – that he’s going to have to play a certain way and be effective in order to get on the court.

    I’m also hoping that the overlap in skill set between MCW, Turner, and Wroten creates a very competitive environment for minutes and opportunities. Turner’s fighting for a contract, Wroten to stay in the league and MCW to live up to lottery pick expectations…

    • Derek Bodner

      I would be very surprised if they were just going to throw him into the fire for starters minutes. I don’t think that’s Browns ways. I do think a little competition would be good for all 3 of them.