Saturday's edge-of-your seat win over the Pistons actually left me feeling pretty good. As I said in my wrap, the win itself wasn't meaningful in any way. The Pistons are a terrible team, and perhaps the only man in the NBA who has done a worse job than Eddie Jordan in the past 12 months is Joe Dumars who assembled that mismatched roster. Upon further review, though, I'm left with a lingering question: Will wins like this extend Eddie Jordan's stay with the Sixers?
We all know who Eddie Jordan is. He believes in his offensive system above all else. He believes he needs his best offensive players on the floor at all times, and they're just going to have to learn to defend. We know this because he's got a track record, both with the Sixers and the Wizards. We know this because he's told us this, again and again, as frequently as last week.
So when he goes against what he believes to barely pull out a win against the hapless Pistons, it doesn't mean a whole lot to me, and it shouldn't mean a whole lot to Ed Stefanski. Whatever the motivation was for Jordan to use a defensive lineup to hold that lead doesn't really matter. It doesn't change the fact that his philosophy is a losing philosophy. That his system probably won't work under the best of circumstances, but certainly won't work with this roster.
Did Ed Stefanski have a stern chat with Jordan and demand that he use a defensive lineup? We'll never know for sure, but we do know that something changed. Something made Jordan try a lineup we've all been begging to see the entire season. What's more likely, that Jordan spent Friday night soul searching and came to realize that his fundamental coaching philosophy was flawed, or is outside intervention more likely? Either way, Jordan's forte is the Princeton offense and no defense. Period. That's who he is. So even if he's willing to rethink his core values as a coach, and he's willing to change this team back to a defense-first squad, he simply isn't qualified to be the coach who takes them in that direction. He isn't even close.
Asking Jordan to coach like Larry Brown is pretty much the same thing as asking Andre Iguodala to play like Reggie Miller (which, incidentally, is what Jordan has asked of Iguodala). It's just not going to happen. Their strengths lie in different areas. From the diatribe Stefanski delivered the other day, I think it's apparent to him that this team is better served playing the style of basketball they've played for the previous two seasons than they are playing Jordan ball. So what's the holdup? What is Ed Stefanski waiting for? And most importantly, seeing Jordan pull off a couple of weak wins doing the things he's clearly against, philosophically, shouldn't change anything. The record is what it is for a reason. He's the wrong guy to coach this team and he's taken the team in a disastrous direction.
Whether Stefanski is dictating coaching philosophy to Jordan or EJ is changing his ways in a last-ditch effort to save his job is immaterial. This team needs to be headed in a direction Jordan cannot take them. I believe Stefanski realizes this, so he's either wasting everyone's time by sticking with Jordan or covering his own ass. Either way, a handful of sad wins over sadder teams doesn't change a thing.