Eddie Jordan Firing Just Another Day in Sixers Quagmire
He harrumphed, comically, when pressed to answer how the Princeton offense could work for a Sixers team without a proven point guard or a legitimate perimeter threat.
The layman's retort: How could an offense based on ball movement work without a playmaker? And, furthermore, even if you swung the ball effectively, what good is an open look if you can't convert? And since the opposition knows you can't shoot, it's not going to guard you away from the basket anyway and allow the backdoor cuts that are also a staple of this Princeton offense.
It doesn't take Petey Carril to know this.
The basketball genius' retort: Who's the coach here?
And let this be a lesson from the firing of Eddie Jordan by the Sixers just one season into a three-year contract: Often the coach wears no clothes, especially in a league that too often feels like a crumbling empire in the hands of looters.
Princeton, we shall forever refer to Jordan, got his. A cool $6 mill.
Didn't matter the catcalls for Princeton's job began midway through the season after an array of nonsensical substitutions, the lack of a consistent rotation, the regression of some of the younger players (such as Thaddeus Young), placing no emphasis on defense – which along with a transition game, had the same team in the playoffs a year ago -- and stubbornly sticking with an offensive mindset that clearly didn't fit his personnel.
Now by no means is the sorry state of the Sixers entirely Princeton's doing. He was merely the graffiti on the mess made by Eddie Stefanski, the team's president and GM, an affable Philly guy who enjoyed success with the Nets at the turn of the century. Stefanski hired Jordan despite knowing Jordan's philosophy and the makeup of the team -- and despite stern objections from a fan base that had no interest in a buddy list coach -- and he blew the team's cap space on a cooked Elton Brand and re-upping faux star Andre Iguodala way, way over market value.
Additionally, with the team buried by the trade deadline, Stefanski turned down a dump deal that could have moved Iguodala – and his hold on the wing position, despite the fact he can't shoot and doesn't believe he can't shoot and averages close to three 3-point attempts per game and a little more than five free throw attempts.
A tremendous athlete, Iguodala can drive hard to the basket and draw fouls but settles for bombs, even though his shot looks like Tim Wakefield threw it. He never did try to develop a mid-range game.
Sounding like Scottie Pippen, he said, "The only positive I can take out of this year is being able to adjust through what I went through and still coming out and staying professional and playing at a high level and being a great player across the board."
Like Princeton, it's not Iguodala's fault either. He was billed a superstar. Prior to the season, the Sixers shot a commercial where Iguodala talked about his legacy.
Juilus Erving had a legacy.
So did Charles Barkley.
And the real and only AI, Allen Iverson, despite the warts.
Just like Princeton.
"Players need to have pride," said former Sixers GM Billy King, who along with Iverson, Larry Brown and soul man Pat Croce had the team in the finals in 2001.
The first year of King's tenure, the team didn't make the playoffs and he told Iverson he needed to go to a series to see what he was missing. He got him tickets to a Knicks-Heat game at the Garden.
"You need to see what you're not a part of," King told Iverson then.
Before Magic vs Bird, there was Julius vs. Bird and Julius vs. Magic. The Sixers were the prequel. They beat Boston in Game 7 on a Spring Sunday and "beat LA, beat LA" at the once Fabulous Forum.
A layup man, Maurice Cheeks dunked in the clincher back in '83 and they retired his jersey number (10) years later. Years still later, they asked him to coach and they fired him, too. He goes down as (4) post-Larry Brown, after Randy Ayers, Chris Ford (interim) and Jim O'Brien, and before Tony DiLeo (interim), Eddie Jordan and whoever is next.
Stefanski says he's going to get right on that process, though what of his fate? Ownership has been preoccupied with the sister and favorite franchise -- the NHL's Flyers.
At least four teams will need new coaches -- New Orleans, New Jersey, the Clippers and Sixers, with Avery Johnson likely headed to Hornets. So who's left? Jeff Van Gundy? Sam Mitchell -- the former coach of the year in Toronto? Doug Collins?
Though he has no bench experience, Mark Jackson remains an interesting name. Point guards have always made good coaches, and Jackson played in those Eastern Conference wars of the late '90s against the Bulls, Knicks and Heat. He has the perfect temperament -- and would play well in Philadelphia.
If Larry Brown stays true to his desire only to coach in Charlotte.
Brown helped save the franchise once.
It's in peril again. Down and out in Philadelphia, the Sixers desperately seek a direction, beginning with a marquee name.
Just another loser playing the lottery.