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Brett Brown Has Developed His Own Unique Vernacular With The Sixers


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In the NBA, the generational divide between a player and a coach can sometimes feel insurmountable. NBA players are young and hip, plugged into the language of youth in a way that can alienate them from their elders. How can a partnership be successful if the two sides don’t even speak the same language?

Sixers coach Brett Brown has apparently been working on the antidote to that problem. Instead of fighting the losing battle of trying to adopt the language of youth, Brown has rather shrewdly immersed his players in his own singular vernacular, which reportedly consists of all sorts of oddball aphorisms that you wouldn’t expect to hear on a basketball court.

For instance, if his players are moving the ball well, he calls it “popcorn popping,” which, fittingly enough, stems from his love of popcorn. And there are plenty more where that came from. According to J.J. Redick, the team’s scouting reports are filled with his colorful little sayings, as well as others that appear in practice every day.

Via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports:

Here are some of Brown’s other unique sayings:

Vision trumps all senses. “Because I’ve coached so many different places, different countries, leagues, college, FIBA, Olympics, NBA, my son’s young teams, that words are interpreted differently whether it’s a language barrier or phrasing, so vision trumps all senses,” Brown said. “When they see it, I feel they have a better chance to do it. And then you can repeat it and correct it.”

Paint to great. That phrase is an evolution of Popovich’s “good to great” where one pass turns a good shot into a great shot. Brown took it a step further. “Getting the ball into the paint is what we want,” Brown said.

Guard the yard. Literally, make sure you’re within a yard of the player you’re defending. “I took that from Pop. That’s a Spurs heist, and it made sense,” Brown said.

Brown also likes to regale his players with phrases like “horses for courses,” which refers to choosing different lineup configurations based on matchups, and “the gym is our compass,” which is a bit more oblique, having something to do with mindfulness or awareness of your immediate surroundings, in their case, keeping their attention inside the gym.

The Sixers have maintained that air of Silicon-Valley-esque disruptiveness even long after Sam Hinkie’s departure, so it makes sense that a certain spirit of quirkiness still exists in Philadelphia. And in any case, it’s clearly more effective than, for instance, Brian Shaw’s ill-fated attempt at rapping his way through a scouting report during his brief tenure in Denver.

(Via USA Today Sports)

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