Elton Brand: A Snowball Starts The Avalanche

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Apr 2, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand (42) dribbles against the Indiana Pacers at Wells Fargo Center. The Indiana Pacers won 115-102. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Champions Make Champions

Many challenged the team’s willingness to retain him for a second season.  But his contribution was never intended to deny a rookie’s place on the team.  His willingness to retire proves that. Brand’s presence on the team helps young players face the reality of earning their next contract. His demeanor helped connect with the questions that form in an NBA’s rookie’s mind, and provide solid answers.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a collection of players seeking a cohesive identity. Each player sitting back waiting for that identity to suddenly pop into existance.  T.J. McConnell as a point guard uncomfortable with shooting, Nik Stauskas with more notoriety as “Sauce” than for anything he’s done on a basketball court, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel trying to excel at center while neither shows much interest in power forward, and a bevy of young shooters who think volume at the perimeter is better than accuracy.

NBA champions do not try to tackle the mountain at once, but simply to seize each moment, each shot, each pass, each defense, and let the mountain fall slowly.  It’s that which Elton Brand brought to the team.  It’s that modest approach to encourage each young man to lead in their moment, to shoot when they have the clean shot, to forego the volume of playing minutes and focus on the quality of the minutes that each player gets.

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