We told you a while back that the Lakers were talking to and moving to hire former Wizards and 76ers coach Eddie Jordan.
Now that is very close to reality, and they are bringing in veteran NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff and former Magic coach Steve Clifford in what is a total overhaul of the assistant coaching ranks, reports Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register.
Usually assistant coach hires are not overly fascinating in the NBA, but in this case Jordan is coming to usher in a Princeton offense era for the Lakers that promises to be interesting.
The Princeton offense makes a lot of sense for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol — its principles are not radically different from the triangle offence. The Princeton offense is really a series of three-man and two-man offenses on one side of the court, with constant motion and cuts off the ball. The idea is always to keep floor spacing through movement.
The Princeton offense wants a center that can both score in the post, is a deft passer and is a threat to knock down a 16-foot jumper from the elbow. That describes Pau Gasol perfectly. Kobe could work off cuts and curls to get catch-and-shoot looks that will be more reminiscent of what he got out of the triangle, the offense Kobe won five rings running.
But where do Steve Nash and Dwight Howard fit in? Those two are a natural and deadly pick-and-roll combination, and Nash’s shooting is a needed part of the Princeton offense. But the fits are not as natural.
Will the Lakers run a hybrid Princeton? Use it some trips down and not others? Run pick-and-roll and up-tempo offense early in the clock and settle into a Princeton set (which Phil Jackson had the Lakers do for a couple years with the triangle)?
Lots of questions and some interesting potential answers. How the Lakers evolve this season will be something to watch. They have the pieces to be a contender, but they have to fit them all together now.
As predicted, it became official today: Doug Collins is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Collins was the first person Sixers General Manager Ed Stefanski interviewed, back on May 1. The two sides started negotiations a few days ago and have reached a four-year deal, according to Associated Press.
Collins replaces Eddie Jordan, whose Princeton offense put off Sixers players in training camp. To say that Jordan lost the team implies he had it at some point, and that was not the case. It was a bad fit.
Collins will bring some passion. He cares about the game, about playing smart basketball, about respecting the sport. Players should connect with that. Now, how Collins deals with Elton Brand in December may be a different matter all together.
Collins takes over a team with some nice young players — Jrue Holiday at the point, Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, Thaddeus Young, Marreese Speights — but hampered from rebuilding by the anchor that is Brand, his enormous contract and pedestrian output. The Sixers do, however, have the second pick overall in the draft and can add Evan Turner to the mix.
Collins is expected to be formally introduced as the coach on Monday.
This news comes not with any surprise, save for the season-long surprise of just how quickly things went bad this season in Philadelphia.
CBS’s Ken Berger (via twitter) and other sources are reporting that the Sixers will host an 11 a.m. news conference to announce the firing of Eddie Jordan as coach. Reports are that team president Ed Stefanski will stay on with the franchise.
The Sixers finished the season 27-55. Jordan came in and instituted a complex Princeton offense that the players never really understood or executed well. Things were no better on the defensive side of the ball, where outside of creating turnovers the Sixers were bad at just about everything.
Injuries didn’t help. Elton Brand making big bucks to be average didn’t help. But in the end this team has more talent than 27 wins, but Jordan could not coax it out of them.
The problem is Stefanski has built a team stuck in the middle — in need of a total rebuild but unable to do so because of the huge contract he gave Brand. Regardless of who is the coach, the Sixers may be better but they will not be very good or start to be able to build toward that for several years.
Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! is reporting via Twitter that Eddie Jordan has ‘significant interest’ in the vacant Rutgers University head coaching job and may interview for it at the end of the season. Woj goes on to say that Jordan will have ample time to prepare for an interview as he will be let go at the end of this season.
The Sixers firing Jordan after year one isn’t really a shock. Jordan was brought in to take a good team higher, and instead Ed Stefanski has watched as the Sixers went from a playoff team with a promising young core to an abject mess with a high payroll and dismal attendance. The season has been a basketball, development, and business failure.
Jordan returning to Rutgers where he was an assistant coach early in his career would make sense, as his no-nonsense approach may be better received by kids with no alternative. If Jordan is gone, you have to start looking at potential replacements, but the Sixers will have to wait for the rest of the coaching casualties to shake out before developing a list. If Jeff Van Gundy has any interest in the Nets job, you’d have to think the Sixers would also be under consideration.
It’s a dog eat dog world. Life’s not fair. Insert cliche here.
The fact is that the Philadelphia 76ers are awful. Awful. And there are consequences to that. Every member of the organization is in the red for what’s owed to the fans and ownership this season. But as Kate Fagan recounts for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eddie Jordan may be the one that pays the bill.
Fagan makes a fascinating case that Philadelphia’s lack of deadline trades, particularly the movement of Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert’s massive contracts, indicates that management thinks the roster isn’t the part that’s broken.
Jordan’s system isn’t easy to implement, but the problems haven’t been isolated to offensive fluency. The breakdown of a once-playoff team has been total and thorough. The decision not to replace Andre Miller with a capable point guard has proven disastrous, Thaddeus Young and the other young talent have failed to take the next step, and injuries have played their part.
But that lack of development and the massive backward slide in wins certainly gives the impression that Jordan’s lost the players. For a team that eventually will have to make some tough financial decisions given their investment for product, Jordan may find his stay in Philly short-lived. Get the cheesesteaks while you can.