Since the firing of Jerry Colangelo in June, the Philadelphia 76ers were allegedly searching hard for a new GM. After a THREE MONTH LONG search, in which they certainly scoured every NBA front office for potential candidates, they decided to promote from within and put Elton Brand at the helm. That’s right, Elton Brand, a man the 76ers signed as a player just over 2 years ago. Whose only experience as an NBA executive is being the GM of the 76ers G-League affiliate the Delaware 87ers for an entire year. I do not want to insult the talent nor the intelligence of Elton Brand; he’s one of the most well respected individuals in basketball, but the 76ers are making a huge mistake.
The 76ers want to win now. Their stiffest competition currently, and for the foreseeable future, are the Celtics, Rockets, and (duh) Warriors. These teams are each lead by guys with at least a decade’s worth of experience working in or around NBA front offices in Danny Ainge, Daryl Morey, and Bob Myers. Each of these men are experts at evaluating talent, negotiating, and maximizing cap space. The 76ers just hired a guy who has to learn the job on the fly while competing against guys who routinely make their peers look like fools (looking at you Billy King). What makes this so embarrassing is that the team had a chance to hire a guy with legitimate front office experience in David Griffin, who was instrumental in bringing a ring to The Land™. Unfortunately, there was a small hiccup because current Head Coach and acting GM Brett Brown was not comfortable giving full control of personnel decisions to the hire. On an unrelated note, Brown is a man who thinks there is nothing wrong with Ben Simmons’ jumper.
Now, I can understand anyone believing that the 76ers have simply too good of a young core in Joel Embiid, Simmons, and Markelle Fultz to mess up. They’re all so young and talented. They’re bound to win a championship with each other at some point. That may be true. I personally cannot think of any teams with three young, talented players that disintegrated before realizing their potential. Not one. Also, there are plenty of guys who have jumped straight from playing to coaching with tremendous success recently like Jason Kidd, Derek Fisher, and Earl Watson. I’m sure Brand will adjust to his new role much like those three.
In all seriousness, there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the culture and/or front office in Philadelphia. The Thunder have shown how easy it is to squander a team that seems destined for a dynasty. Only time will tell, but I fear that the 76ers are doomed to never overcome their greatest mistake: firing Sam Hinkie.