by Jason Levine
Elton Brand had a unique perspective on the NBA draft, having been selected No. 1 overall in 1999.
And though he played parts of 17 seasons in the league, Brand did not get the full picture of how the draft worked until June, when he attended pre-draft player workouts in Chicago.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to work [full-time] in basketball,” said Brand, who has helped produce three feature films, including the critically acclaimed “Rescue Dawn.”
But after the pre-draft experience, “my eyes were opened to the business side of it.”
Brand, who retired as a Sixer in 2016, was named general manager of the NBA G League Delaware 87ers on Monday. The former Duke star played for five NBA teams, including 263 games with Philadelphia.
Brand, who lives with his family in Gladwyn, Pennsylvania, spent last season as a player development consultant with the Sixers. That experience gave him insight on evaluating players on and off the court. Brand helped select the Sixers’ Summer League roster and took particular satisfaction in seeing a player he recommended excel.
The 87ers job goes well beyond evaluating talent.
Brand, 38, will have a say in all 87ers operations, from the product on the court to the arena experience for fans. He replaces Brandon Williams, who is now assistant GM for the Sacramento Kings.
The 26-team G League (formerly the NBADL) presents unique roster challenges for any GM. G League teams are owned by NBA teams, but not every player on the 87ers roster will be a Sixers “minor-leaguer.”
New next season are two spots for “two-way” players, who will spend the bulk of the season in the G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team.
Among the Sevens’ two-way players will be James Michael McAdoo, a 6-9 forward who earned two NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors. The deal, which has not been made official, was announced by McAdoo’s agent over the weekend.
Along with the two-way players, there are up to four “affiliate players,” players who were cut by the Sixers during training camp.
There are also G League draft picks, NBA assignees and draft rights players.
On top of that, two 87ers roster spots next season will be taken by players with the Washington Wizards organization. The Wizards do not have their own G League affiliate.
Such a patchwork roster makes it challenging to install and run offensive and defensive sets; Brand said the Sevens will use the Sixers’ system.
Because many players believe offense will get them noticed by NBA scouts, G League games can devolve into fast-break fiascos.
But Brand said he and Sevens coach Eugene Burroughs will work to emphasize the team approach.
“The more successful our team is, the more looks you’ll get [from scouts],” Brand said.