Replace Allen Iverson, Eric Snow, and Theo Ratlif with Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, and Samuel Dalembert. Former Sixers coach Larry Brown is not only gone but is coaching the Charlotte Bobcats, a team that was not even around a decade ago. Sixers fever has been replaced with Phillies Phever and the two Philly teams have certainly had a role reversal in fan interest. While the Sixers have been bad of recent years they have fallen into the realm of mediocrity that captures NBA teams like a black hole sucks in space matter. When you draft in the teens every where you’re going to get an average at best NBA team and for the past few years that’s exactly what Sixers fans have gotten. The Sixers are a team that is just good enough to sneak into the playoffs, but for long, as they are usually bounced in the first round.
This year however, has been really bad. They are way worse than usual and many are looking to point the finger somewhere--anywhere. The Sixers are the seventh worst team in the NBA with a record of 26-47, and that’s including their recent two game win streak. Most of the blame has been put on new head coach Eddie Jordan, who has been criticized for his coaching style (Princeton offense) and, at times, losing the offense. But Eddie Jordan is not where you should be pointing the finger. Your finger instead should be in the face of Ed Stefanski, Sixers’ GM.
Stefanski hired Jordan and signed him to a four-year deal. He is in year one of that contract which means the Sixers, even if they fired him, would still be responsible for the remaining three years of his deal. Having more than one head coach on the books is nothing new for the Sixers. After Larry Brown left they had Randy Ayers, Jim O’ Brien, and Chris Ford all on the books after the first two were fired.
I think we can all agree that this team is not going to compete next year so why not just see what Jordan can do? This team has had one year with Jordan's Princeton offense maybe next year they will feel more comfortable with it. I do not like to compare sports, but many defensive players with the Eagles say it takes a full year to get used to the style that Sean McDermott/Jim Johnson run and maybe it is similar in basketball. Also, is firing Jordan really fair to the players? You would be hiring a new coach with presumably a new style, which means that this team would have their third straight year adapting to a new scheme.
Let’s take a better look also at the Stefanski regime. If, in fact, Eddie Jordan is fired shouldn’t Stefanski be blamed? Stefanski was the one who hired Jordan. Stefanski was the one who gave Jordan these players. Eddie Jordan is not Anne Sullivan--he is not a miracle worker. He can only do so much with so little talent.
The fact is that Stefanski is the one to blame. He is the one who felt the pressure of being the GM of a new team, and felt like he had to put his stamp on the team. So, he went out and gave a massive contract to Elton Brand. Not only was it a huge contract, but Brand was coming off Achilles surgery, and quickly went from "savior" to mistake. While I do think Elton Brand has been misused by both Stefanski and Jordan, I look at the deal and question the logic. Stefanski should have saved the money, and then this summer traded the average Iguodala for Tracey McGrady and his expiring contract, which would have set the Sixers up in a pretty good spot for this off-season. Instead, we are stuck with no salary space and a young, but average team. The glaring misuse of the salary cap, and the thought that a big name free agent would immediately boost ticket sales makes me wonder what was Fast Eddy thinking?
Ed Stefanski reminds me, at times, of former Phillies GM Ed Wade. While I will still state that Wade was a great drafting GM, both Wade and Stefanski treat the fans like idiots. Do not try and tell me that Royal Ivey is a good player when his career numbers suggest he is a one-minute-a-game-type player. Do not try and tell me Jason Kapono is good--at all. And don’t you dare try and act like the Royal Ivery/Primo Brezac for Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson trade was good, or even necessary because it, in no way, improved the team at all.
This team’s motto all year long seems to be Andre Iguodala saying in a melancholy tone "Were just not playing up to our potential right now", but what Iguodala has failed to grasp is that the Sixers played up to their potential all season long.
I have a theory that the reason the Sixers are worse this year than most is not because of Jordan, but more so because of the loss of Andre Miller. This is virtually the same exact team as they were last year just without Miller who averaged 16 points last season for the Sixers. In his wake, steps Lou Williams who was a former second round pick out of high school, looking for his time to shine. While I like Williams, he is not the playmaker Andre Miller is. This team is not bad because of coaching style but more so because they replaced a decent player with an average one. They were barely a playoff team even with Miller. So when you subtract Miller-shocker-they are no longer a playoff team.
So when Eddie Jordan is presumably fired in the coming weeks ask yourself this-Did the Sixers make the right decision? Did the Sixers fire the right Ed?