Larry Brown on Simmons, Embiid and 76ers' real issue


Larry Brown, the former 76ers coach who led the team to the NBA Finals in 2000-01, recruited Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid while he was coaching at SMU. 

Brown is convinced Simmons and Embiid can win together, but feels as though this issues on this year's team stem from personnel problems and players not named Simmons and Embiid being out of position. 

"Both of those kids simply make everybody better," Brown said of Simmons and Embiid on Tuesday's 94WIP Midday Show with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie. "I have a hard time when I read that they can't play together, that maybe we split them up. They're two of the best 10 players in the NBA, in my mind.

"I admire Brett, I love Philly, I want to see them win. Here's my issue---you can't lose Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick, and (T.J.) McConnell and tell me how you're gonna be better? They're not only really, really good players, they're really, really great teammates which I don't think people take into account enough. 

"I'm a huge Al Horford fan, but he's not a four man (power forward). He had an unbelievable advantage playing center because centers could not guard him and he could guard center. I'm a huge Tobias Harris fan, but he's not a three man (small forward). He can guard four men, but they couldn't guard him. It's a struggle for him to guard three men. It's a struggle for Al to guard four men. Again, I'm not trying to be critical because I'd have any of those guys on any team I'd ever be involved with. But I think losing the three I mentioned and then I think sometimes we're playing some people out of position, that it affects everything."

When it comes to Simmons and shooting the basketball, Brown is in the minority---he's not worried. 

"Here's my thing, he's gonna become a better shooter simply because he's gonna have more opportunities to shoot the ball," Brown said of Simmons. "But this kid, he can guard one through five. He makes everybody on the court better. He's as good a passer, rebounder, defender as we have in the whole league. People (opponents) used to be happy as hell if Allen took a three point shot! 

"I think if you put Joel and Ben on the block, I don't know who could guard them. And I think they could surround enough people on the court who can space it out and make a shot." 

Brown also reflected on the 2000-01 NBA Finals run with Allen Iverson, a team that captivated Philadelphia and NBA fans from all over. 

"I think what made it special is everywhere I go, people see me in airports and they don't know my name, but they know I coached Allen (Iverson)," Brown said. "People forget, when we played in the Finals (Matt) Geiger hardly played. He really just played Game 1. George Lynch broke his foot. Eric Snow was playing with a stress fracture. We picked up Raja Bell from the YMCA about a month before the season was a team really built around a great, great, great player who had an unbelievable will to win and surrounded himself with really good quality guys."