I don't think he's very smart. I have seen them blow countless 20+ point leads, to the point of it being excessive (it's a game of runs so it happens, but not to the extent of the past few seasons). Sure, you could argue last year they were a young team, but it's also a result of his pass happy, fast tempo offense which he never slows down with a big lead, giving the opposing more possessions than they otherwise might have. Plus, they just chuck 3s, when you’d think they’d slow the tempo and focus on some higher percentage shots in the paint. Absolutely no discipline -- up 7 with 2 minutes left? Go ahead and chuck a three with 20 left on the shot clock! And no accountability for players who take dumb shots (which is why I think the players love him). I loved Cov's defense, but he was a big culprit of this last year, especially in the heartbreaker Houston game last season where they hit a buzzer beater -- I think it was a 6 or 8 point lead with 2:30 or so that we gave up because they just started chucking threes.
The Celtics and 76ers were close last year, IMO, at least I don't think they were 4-2 worse. Blowing the 22-point lead was inexcusable in game two, and Brown didn't even try to shut down the Celtics' run via timeout in the second quarter as they closed in on halftime, so the lead was totally gone before halftime. I just found it ridiculous and figured that momentum swing was probably too much to overcome for the remainder of the series. Celtics are a great team, so is it guaranteed they'd have held them off with a timeout? Of course not, but I would've liked to see some semblance of common sense to give them a fighting chance. It was the same story, just a different book, and Brown didn’t show that he learned anything, IMO.
Embiid on the perimeter so much is also idiotic and I've always felt that way, and I never truly knew if this was by Brown's design or Embiid (which, if it was Embiid, again shows a lack of accountability). But based on Embiid's comments this week, it seems to be Brown's insistence, which makes little sense to me because of how effective Embiid has been in the paint (had a few bad games here lately, but I don't really see why you want to take your best post presence out of play).
I liked Richaun Holmes as a backup big over Amir, but he rarely played him. Richaun is looking pretty solid for PHX, albeit on a bad team, so the jury is still out. But if he ends up being a regular contributor as he has been for the rest of the season, to me, that’s another strike in terms of player evaluation.
I think you can give him credit for Covington, who became a very good defender and a valuable trade chip in acquiring Butler. I feel like Embiid would have developed as he has based on his immense talent, but you can credit him with it since it technically happened on his watch. But the development of Noel, Okafor, Fultz, and Simmons’ jump shot under his watch are all strikes. If I’m management and see first round picks fizzle in this frequency, I’d start to wonder if this is the right guy.
I think most professional coaches could have achieved what he achieved last season and this season thus far based on the talent we have. The talent, even despite Simmons’ deficiencies, can probably coast to a 3-4 seed minimum based on the talent they have in Embiid, Simmons, and Butler. Problem is for Brown, when you’re in the playoffs and face other talented teams and other higher-end coaches, I don’t see him as a coach that can consistently beat a Boston or a Toronto in a series.
I really like the Butler trade not only due to his talent, but it might be the key to Brown being removed if they underachieve in the playoffs. Prior to Butler, I figure Brown gets a minimum three more years (ownership seems to love the guy), but I could see a move coming sooner if they continue to fall short via the same basic mistakes. Time will tell, I suppose. Until then, I’ll keep watching and rooting and hoping this core doesn’t go to waste.