Eddie Jordan, who took a head coaching job at his alma matar Rutgers University in late April, recently took a little time to catch up with the Washington Post.
His musings included why he’s no longer seeking a head coaching job in the NBA, his time with the Washington Wizards, and naturally a less than stellar review of his stretch with the Lakers last season. Warning, it’s a mouthful.
“When I was hired there, there was no Dwight Howard and there was no Steve Nash and Mike Brown said, ‘I want you to help me with the offense,’ ” Jordan said. “We went through the preseason running principles of the Princeton offense that Kobe had asked about and that Mike Brown presented to Kobe and they agreed it was good for the Lakers. We lost eight games, but Mike Brown wasn’t concerned about winning. He was like, we have an older team. Kobe has nagging injuries and we didn’t want to wear our starters out. But our starters were very efficient and our bench was very short, so you saw that throughout the whole season. The 0-8 preseason, we weren’t concerned about winning, we wanted to get guys in tune. Then Nash got hurt, then Dwight got hurt, Mike Brown got fired and it was an outcry and frankly — I think a lot of people in basketball would know — Mike Brown and his personality and his style, is great for solid NBA teams, but the Lakers are different. The Lakers are different. It was even hard for Mike D’Antoni to get it going.”
Okay, so first things first, the Princeton offense sucks – at least at the professional level gathering what we can from the team’s trainwreck start to the season. Blame injuries, blame personnel, blame whatever. It just sucked.
Granted, I’m not really sure why I – or anyone else for that matter – would actually want to defend what happened with the Lakers this season. But for the sake of this article I’m saying the system was to blame – at least for the start of the season.
“Mike Brown hired me. He was awesome. He allowed me to do a lot in a large role and when he was gone, Mike D’Antoni was gracious enough to keep me there and I really appreciate both those guys hiring me and retaining me. [Former Bullets/Wizards coach] Bernie Bickerstaff and I were reassigned to the back of the bench and we were okay. We were happy to be a part of it,” Jordan said. “It was a season of injuries, non-chemistry, getting to know each other as the season went along. Clashes of personalities and approaches and then it was more injuries. The injury factor and chemistry kept it dysfunctional to where you couldn’t have great success.”
Yup, dysfunction – hit the nail on the head. Injuries and system aside, the Lakers looked like chickens running around with their heads cut off more often than not. It was sad, really.
No excuses. The Lakers had the talent, but the pieces simply did not fit. Maybe they would have found their way in the postseason had Kobe Bryant not gone down, but it’s doubtful. Too many egos, too many voices, not enough focus.
Jordan’s words reopen old wounds and leave a bitter taste in my mouth, as I’m sure they do in yours. It makes us wonder if next season would actually be any different should the team stay together. Hell, I certainly don’t know the answer to that – so I’m going to ask you.
Can the Lakers win a championship with a core of Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Bryant next season? If so, what do they need to change? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.
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