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Pop’s coaching tree continues with Brett Brown

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“The Process” couldn’t get it done

Phoenix Sun v San Antonio Spurs Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

Is there a picture of Pop courtside where he doesn’t look exasperated? As soon as the game is over — win or lose — he’s hugs and smiles and handshakes. Then he goes to the post game presser where he looks browbeat or just straight up angry. But on the court, pure exasperation.

But I digress...

As we continue our journey retracing the tree that is rooted in is what is heading into Gregg Popovich’s twenty-fifth season (it’s his silver anniversary, y’all), we move into the Brett Brown era. Although he is officially listed as an assistant coach from 2007-2013, he was with the Spurs for a longer period of time.

Brown started his coaching career in 1988 in New Zealand. One season with the Altos Auckland before landing a job with the Melbourne Tigers. He got the job by cold calling the Tigers’ head coach Lindsay Gaze. He eventually became head coach of the North Melbourne Giants.

Brown was running a basketball camp with shooting guard Andrew Gaze (son of Lindsay). R. C. Buford hired Brown to Spurs’ basketball operations department for the 1998–99 season. Coincidentally, the younger Gaze would also be a member of that 1999 Championship squad in his lone season with the Silver & Black.

Brown left San Antonio and returned to Australia with the Sydney Kings. In 2002, he again took a position with the Spurs, this time as the team’s director of player development. Buford credited him with focusing attention on the team’s lesser-known players, creating a consistently strong bench. He was promoted to assistant coach in September 2007, now working alongside Gregg Popovich.

Pop and Brown have a tied relationship, having had Pop refer to Brett as one of this best friends. Brown played an integral role in the signing of Patty Mills, whom he coached with the Australian national team.

In one way or another, Brett Brown was involved in each of the first four Spurs titles. He left at the end of the 2013 season to pursue a championship for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Whether you agree or disagree with “The Process” (a topic we will discuss another day soon as Ben Simmons name keeps popping up), you have to credit Brown with a turnaround that led the 76ers from a 10-72 season to a 52-30 season just two years later.

The 76ers were positioned to make a Finals run last year, but injury, poor shooting, and finger-pointing tore down much of what Brown accomplished in his seven years in Philadelphia.

Next up: Don Newman


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