- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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EDDIE JORDAN figured he was in for an extended vacation after he was fired by the Wizards last November. It lasted six months—that's how long it took for the 76ers to hire him to replace interim coach Tony DiLeo. "It's good to be back," says Jordan, who had coached Washington since 2003--04. "Last year was the first year I was out of basketball since the ninth grade."
Jordan brings his Princeton offense, which should suit a roster that, having lost Andre Miller in free agency, is devoid of pure playmakers. Jordan's scheme, which limits the ballhandling responsibilities of the point guard, should mask the deficiencies of new starter Lou Williams while highlighting his skill as a scorer. During a recent practice Williams brought the ball up on five straight possessions, never dribbling more than twice after he crossed half-court. On those possessions Williams ended up hitting two deep jump shots and scored on a driving layup. "Point guards love this offense," says Jordan. "I've had prototypical point guards like Jason Kidd who loved it and scoring guards like Gilbert Arenas who loved it."
Philly is hoping someone else feels the love: Elton Brand. The power forward struggled through a very un-Brand-like year (13.8 points, 8.8 rebounds) in his first as a Sixer before a torn right labrum ended his season last February. Upon taking the Sixers' job Jordan shipped Brand a DVD of old Wizards games. As Brand watched it, he noted that the Washington big men were often open for jump shots at the top of the key and in the corners. He devoted extra time to those spots in his off-season shooting drills. "The big men that are always leaning on me in the post and waiting for double teams are not going to come out there and guard me," Brand says.
Brand, who signed a five-year, $80 million free-agent contract before last season, needed a fresh start. With Jordan, he has just that.
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE with 2008--09 statistics
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
KEY BENCH PLAYERS: G Willie Green, 8.5 PPG; G-F Rodney Carney, 7.2 PPG; C Marreese Speights, 7.7 PPG; G-F Jason Kapono, 43.2 3FG% • New acquisition
COACH: Eddie Jordan (first season with 76ers) • 2008--09 RECORD: 41--41 (second in Atlantic)
POINTS SCORED: 97.4 (22nd in NBA) • POINTS ALLOWED: 97.3 (11th in NBA)