Even more troubling Tuesday was that the 76ers, coached by Maurice Cheeks, a Brown protégé, were running the same plays that Brown had been teaching the Knicks for two weeks.
"We even call it the same thing," Brown said. "And we practice against it, we talk about how to defend it. And then I watched last night, we didn’t defend any of that stuff. Maybe we’re not executing it ourselves, so that when we play against it, we’re not prepared to stop it."
Granted, this was a preseason game, and it’s possible Maurice Cheeks wasn’t using his full playbook. But this preceded his first season in Philadelphia, so if that were the case, I’d wonder why he wasn’t more aggressively teaching his schemes to his new team.
Cheeks has a reputation as a mediocre-at-best Xs-and-Os coach, and examples like these contribute to it. The Thunder while Cheeks worked for Scott Brooks didn’t excel in that area, either, but it’s unclear what role Cheeks played there.
Is this reputation fair? Tough to say from a distance. The 76ers in the season of this example posted their best offensive rating under Cheeks, but they still ranked just 13th.