76ers guard Josh Richardson said Sunday the team was lacking accountability from under-fire coach Brett Brown.
Philadelphia was swept 4-0 by rival Boston in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs following a 110-106 loss in Game 4 in the Orlando bubble. Afterward, attention turned to Brown, who is reportedly facing an exit, with the front office set to make a final decision soon.
Brown was hired in 2013 and he has overseen three consecutive trips to the postseason since 2017-18, including two conference semifinal appearances. But Richardson, who joined the 76ers as part of the deal that sent All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Heat in the offseason, was forthright in his assessment of the 59-year-old coach.
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“He’s a good guy,” Richardson said via video conference postgame. “He’s a good man. He means well.
“I just think going forward, we’ve just got to have some more accountability. I don’t think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem.”
Richardson, whose 76ers qualified for the playoffs as the sixth seed in the East, added: “It just has to start. There’s always got to be a Day 1. We’ve just got to start from scratch. It’s not going to be easy and we’re not going to be comfortable, but that’s what championship teams do.
“[When] guys are not doing their job on or off the court, there’s got to be some kind of consequence — not consequence, but we’ve got to be able to talk to each other and listen.
“And not [just] listen to say something back, but actually hear [each other]. It’s a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that I think we all want, I know we all want, it’s got to start.”
The 76ers were forced to face the Celtics without injured All-Star guard Ben Simmons. Injuries have often hampered Brown and Philadelphia — Simmons and fellow All-Star Joel Embiid have spent time on the sideline.
Brown lamented the injuries, telling reporters: “Missing Ben will resonate for a long time, especially given what he did to prepare himself to play in the [bubble]. The difficulty of guarding the Celtics’ wings [that] you live every time you play them is they’ve got so much firepower, and you really need to have a stable of able, senior, veteran-type mentality defensive players on a bunch of really good scorers. And I will think of [not having Simmons].
“Obviously, the way our season ended is disappointing. You can’t, obviously, phrase it any other way. But really trying to guard those wings was difficult.”