During today's introductory press conference, Eddie Jordan avoided a minefield. He was bombarded with questions about the team's lack of shooting. Jordan's answer was that he was brought in to make the roster he's given better. To make the shooters on the team better. After the jump, we'll take a look at a few players he's coached before, and see if this might not be an impossible mission.
Jordan brought up two names during the press conference: Mitch Richmond and Richard Jefferson. So let's start with them.
- I'm not sure how much credit Jordan can take for Mitch Richmond's development as a shooter. Prior to Joran's arrival in Sacramento, Richmond shot a respectable 37% from three.
And the year before Jordan arrived, Richmond hit 103 threes on 268 attempts (38.4%)
- During Jordan's 6 years in Sacramento as an assistant and then a head coach, Richmond definitely blossomed. He shot 40.6% from three, and made an impressive 2.04 per game from deep, but I think he was headed in that direction prior to Jordan's arrival. I'm sure the Princeton offense provided more open looks for Richmond, but I don't think it made him into the prolific shooter he became.
- Richard Jefferson came out of Arizona with no jumper to speak of. In his first two seasons, he shot a paltry 23.8% from three and only attempted 80 threes combined. Jordan was lead assistant for the Nets throughout both of these seasons.
- In his third year, and the final year he'd work with Jordan, he dramatically improved his three-point shot. Hitting 48 of 132 attempts, for a league-average 36.4%. I suppose you could call this a success story.
Now, let's take a look at one more player who flourished in Jordan's offense. The infamous DeShawn Stevenson.
- Prior to hooking up with Jordan, Stevenson played in 385 NBA games over 6 seasons. In 8,368 minutes of game action, he attempted 202 threes, making 53 of them (26.2%). He averaged 0.23 made threes per 36 minutes of floor time.
- In 2006, he went to Washington. Over the next two seasons, in Jordan's offense, Stevenson hit 232 threes in 596 attempts (38.9%). He averaged a robust 1.67 made threes per 36 minutes.
- This past season, after Jordan was fired by Washington, Stevenson shot 19 for 73 from three (26%).
So what do all these numbers say about the Sixers' new head coach? It looks to me like he, or his shooting coach, really had a big impact on both Jefferson and Stevenson. Those guys developed a three-point jumper out of nowhere. Stevenson's transformation was beyond belief, as was his drop-off after Jordan left.
More than anything, however, I think these numbers illustrate the quantity of open looks the P.O. can produce. Jordan gives the green light to his shooters, and creates opportunities for them to hit shots.
The question remains, and it will probably remain until this time next year when we have a full season's worth of stats to look at, will more open looks turn the Sixers' shooters into better shooters? Personally, I think the offense will help Iguodala, Thad, Willie and Lou to a certain degree, but not to the point where this team will make a dramatic leap in three-point efficiency. Any true improvement is going to have to come from a personnel move or three. Still, it's heartening to see that he has had success in creating shooters in the past.