Well, can’t say I’m surprised by this one – it’s being reported that the Philadelphia 76ers will terminate Eddie Jordan today.
On paper, Jordan’s 27-55 record in his one and only season in Philly is reason enough to have him looking for work in the offseason. Beyond the grim numbers though, the actual product on the court – and the nonsense away from it – make letting Jordan go one of the easiest decisions in recent Sixer history.
First there was the insistence on implementing Jordan’s NBA version of the “Princeton-Style Offense.” That’s cool … if you have guys who can shoot, pass, handle the ball, know how to play basketball, and want to buy into the system. Outside of a few spot cases, this Sixers roster has none of the above.
Then there was the constant, sometimes baffling rotations, substitution patterns, and extreme fluctuation in playing time for multiple rotation players. That’s all fine, if there’s a real purpose behind it. But when question by the media about his moves after games, Jordan rarely had any kind of answer for what he was trying to do. He seemed to be reaching in the dark for months.
There are other rumors about the Sixers’ locker room becoming a disjointed mess, and the players having little respect for Jordan or his authority, highlighted by this section of Kate Fagan’s piece in the Philly Inquirer today:
Those around and involved with the team said the locker room became just as disheveled, saying Jordan would not fine players for tardiness until around early March, which was approximately Game 60 of the 82-game season.
Asked about this philosophy, Jordan said: “Fining players wasn’t a big deal for me, simple as that.”
One team source said the players started “whispering” about having to impose their own fines for lateness if Jordan wouldn’t do it.
“I guess I think there were some incidents with guys coming a little late and things like that,” center Samuel Dalemebert, twice benched for lateness, said of the latter-season attempt at discipline. “I think the coach, because it was happening with so many guys, that coach became a little more enforcing with it.”
“I think they tried to respect Eddie in the beginning and then he lost them,” said one team source. “They never really grasped it.”
What a debacle. And it was easy to see it coming when Sixers GM Ed Stefanski hired Jordan in the offseason. The two are friends from back in their days at the Nets, and while Stefanksi clearly felt comfortable with Jordan when he hired him (as opposed to a defensive expert like Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau), Jordan’s two red flags were the Princeton Offense and the fact that his last job in Washington ended with him losing total control/respect of a young team. Not a good sign.
So where do they go from here? The dream choice for Philly fans would be Villanova’s Jay Wright. Not sure he would really consider that move right now though because it’s a no-win situation. The Sixers have no talent, they are a distant last in terms of of teams that the city cares about (behind all professional clubs and ‘Nova and Temple), he would clearly want to be in control of all basketball moves, and the team’s owner is still openly in love with Larry Brown. Plus, he’s a made man at ‘Nova. He’ll never get fired there, his teams will always be competitive, and they will always be in the NCAA Tournament with a shot at the Final Four.
Beyond Wright, the list is not great. Round 2 of the Larry Brown Soap Opera is starting to seem inevitable at this point. Maybe they really talk to Thibodeau, unless he’s first in line for the Celtics gig if Boston loses Doc Rivers in the offseason. After those two? Mark Jackson? Jeff Van Gundy? Again, why would either guy want the Philly job?
Bottom line is that getting rid of Jordan is the first step. It’s just a shame that Philly lost an entire year for no good reason.
Who should the Sixers hire to be their next head coach?
Follow Pat Cassidy on Twitter HERE.
For the latest NBA news and rumors, follow Dime on Twitter HERE.
For exclusive news and contests, become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.