Sixers' Eddie Jordan Tough to Impress
Marreese Speights, a second-year player who averaged just under eight points and four rebounds a game last season, was a big reason for the Sixers' strong comeback. He scored 15 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, while also finishing with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Even though this is the preseason, it was still a career game for Speights, and one that you'd think his new head coach, Eddie Jordan, would be excited about. But that wasn't exactly the case.
When asked if Speights might be able to produce like that during the regular season, Jordan didn't gush over his performance, and in fact, he didn't even seem all that pleased by it.
"We want people to produce while we win," Jordan told FanHouse. "That's what we're looking at. We're not just looking at guys who get stats. We're looking at, are you making winning plays? Are you helping your teammates?
"You know, a lot of guys can go out and get a lot of numbers and not help their teammates and do things to win. So, we want him to grow as a team player, and yet, be productive individually."
Wow, coach. How about throwing the kid a bone? Speights played a really solid game on both ends of the floor, and a little praise for a player entering his second season in the league -- from his new coach, no less -- might not be a bad way to go here, despite the (completely meaningless) preseason loss.
Then again, there might have been something else going on with Jordan and some of his players.
Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand combined to shoot 0-for-12 in the first half, and their collective scoreless effort got all three benched to start the second. Only Brand returned -- mainly to try to get his conditioning and feel for the game back after missing most of the last two seasons -- while Iguodala and Dalembert sat for the rest of the game.
Philly's last preseason game was three days earlier, so it's not like these guys needed the extra rest. This is pure speculation, but could Jordan have been upset with their effort, and used the rest of the game to send a message?
For the record, when Jordan was asked if there was anything wrong with Iguodala, or if he was just trying to get him some extra rest during the preseason, Jordan responded curtly with a "yes."
But it wasn't all that convincing.
Look, it's very possible that everything is fine and dandy between Eddie Jordan and his new players -- after all, the team was undefeated through four preseason contests before Friday's loss. But if things end up going south at some point this season in Philadelphia, you'll be able to say there were signs very early on -- you know, like not praising a player when he has a career game, or benching two starters for a half to send some kind of unnecessary message.