With the exit of Gersson Rosas from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the organization is now on the hunt for its new president/general manager. After news broke, Elton Brand, the current general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, was immediately rumored to be Rosas’ replacement.
In wake of Gersson Rosas' departure, word has circulated among league sources since Summer League that incoming Minnesota Timberwolves owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez have communicated they are fond of Sixers general manager Elton Brand. A name to keep an eye on here.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) September 22, 2021
Whether these rumors turn out to be reality is a matter of wait-and-see. But as we stand, there are three good reasons why Brand should be the next front office executive for the Timberwolves.
1. The mere fact that he was a former player
It’s a cliched reason, for sure. But we cannot discount the fact that Brand was once an NBA player himself. And it’s not like Brand’s playing years were a long time ago. He’s very fresh from our memory, having retired in 2016. His stature as a former player was one of the main reasons why the Philadelphia 76ers did not think twice about naming him their general manager. That’s one reason why the Timberwolves shouldn’t either. Brand knows how to connect with NBA players.
Brand has literally experienced everything a player could experience in the NBA. Brand, who played for Duke, was a top college prospect and ended up as the first overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. His first team was the Chicago Bulls whose fans were reeling from Michael Jordan’s retirement.
In a strange turn of events, Brand was traded to the LA Clippers after just two seasons in Chicago. He performed well with the Clippers, averaging as much as 24.7 points and 10. rebounds per game. But these numbers went unnoticed as Brand only led the Clippers once to the playoffs in his seven-year stay. His stint with Philadelphia was productive but was plagued by several injuries. His numbers eventually dwindled and in the final years of his professional career, Brand became a journeyman of sorts.
From someone who was expected to put up great numbers, Brand took on the “veteran voice” role. Brand had one hell of a roller coaster of a career. He has so many ups and downs. Put any type of NBA player in front of him and he’ll know what type of advice to give him.
2. Learnings from 76ers stint
Brand was the one responsible for bringing in Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Tobias Harris. 76ers fans know that on paper, these were pretty good signings. A lot of them were thrilled when these players first donned the Sixers jersey. As we all know by now, it’s only Harris who’s a member of the team. Butler moved on after just a season and a half with the team. Horford also left after just one season while Josh Richardson was traded.
Brand can charge these failed moves to experience and apply them in a potential role with the Timberwolves. We must note that Brand took on the general manager spot for the 76ers two years after he retired from the professional ball. Props to him for landing these players in his first year as a general manager.
At this point in his career as an executive, we should give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s learned a lot from his stint with the Sixers. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even the well-regarded players and executives today have failed miserably in the past. Brand was a bit unfortunate that a lot of eyes were already observing him from a distance since day one.
3. Worked closely with one of the top general managers in the NBA
We can say that the highlight of his career as a front office executive came when the 76ers hired Daryl Morey as their president of basketball operations. He worked closely with Morey and their partnership brought in key players like Dwight Howard, Danny Green, and Seth Curry.
These were the key pieces that enabled the 76ers to become the head honchos of the Eastern Conference. We cannot ignore Morey’s success with the Houston Rockets and the fact that he did not have a single losing record when he was their general manager.
Apart from this, Morey was one of the people responsible for changing how the game is played. The way he approached the game through data analytics, his penchant for 3-pointers and lay-ups over mid-range shots. We’re not saying that Brand is a carbon copy of Morey and that he’ll bring these similar principles to Minnesota.
Rather, Brand has absorbed tons of lessons on how to be an executive which makes him a great candidate for a fresh start with the Timberwolves. The fact that Morey was able to influence head coaches to look at the numbers closely (and not take them simply for what they are) takes a lot of confidence in what you believe in.