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Congratulations, Your Team Is A Laughingstock

Holy fucking shit. Kate Fagan has a scorching piece you must read, but I had to share this quote immediately:

Today, Jordan was asked if maybe you go with better defenders at that point in a game (up by 18 points in the third quarter).

Jordan shrugged it off and said, "And then not score the ball efficiently?" To which the questioner responded, "Maybe when you're up 18?" Jordan responded: "Your best players should be good defenders and that’s what we’re trying to get to. Trying to get our best players to defend as a unit, defend indiviudually, so you can have balance. There's no such thing as unbalanced. Good teams don't just put five defenders on the floor. Your better players are your defenders."

This is the head coach of a fucking NBA team saying, almost verbatim, our best scorers are our best defenders because they have to be. I can't play defenders.

Someone please put us out of our misery.

Here's the link. Mandatory reading, folks.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 17:55

Holy Awesomeness Batman

Expect Ms Fagan to get very little out of the organizatoin in the near future

tenso reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:29

i want to marry her

JohnEMagee reply to tenso on Jan 6 at 18:30

I'm 99% sure you have the wrong chromosomal make up

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 18:32

LOL. Funniest thing I've heard on this board in a while.

Not that there is anything wrong with that...

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:30

I'd like to say that my opinion of the biggest sin for folk in charge (almost as bad as not admitting mistakes) is 'not knowing what you don't know' - i experience it daily with my employer, preventing our company for succeeding as much as it can...it's a hubris that can kill an organization

I agree, and that probably applies to Snider and Luukko, but I do honestly believe Stefanski knows hoops.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 17:37

Ah but see - no one knows everything about hoops - take DiLeo - he's an EXCELLENT evaluator of hoop talent out of college, that doesn't mean he could shrewdly evaluate free agency or how a guy fits in a system.

I am sure there are somethings Stefanski knows about hoops but there are others he doesn't, and maybe 'hiring coaches' is one of those things...if he was 'conned' by jordan in a 3 hour chalk talk that led to this either

A. Jordan lied to him completely hook line and sinker
B. Stefanski lacks some innate hoops knowledge to realize that what Jordan coaches wouldn't work in philadlephia

Nothing to argue with here. He hired Jordan and the financial limitations argument doesn't hold water when you consider the assistants he interviewed. Either he had an open checkbook and chose Jordan as the best overall candidate, or he had a limited amount of money and he chose Jordan over the assistants because he (a) he thought he was the best candidate or (b) he was the only guy with a track record he could afford.

Either way, he dropped the ball.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 17:47

"only guy with a track record he could afford"

God that pisses me off, really does, I'm sure most people forget but Gregg Poppovich is on his FIRST nba head coaching job...you CAN hire a guy who hasn't coached in the NBA who will succeed (Lawrence Frank was hired WHILE stef was in jersey wasn't he? Didnt Jersey also give Byron Scott his first job, you got examples of guys with no NBA experience and player experience as well), if you know how to hire a coach. If you limit yourself to 'only guys with experience' then the pool isn't that large...the NBA more than most sports seems very unwilling to give 'new guys' a shot.

No I don't know names, cause I don't know who is a GOOD assistant and who isn't - and most people who don't work in the NBA don't know either, but I know that the current coaches won't all live forever, so someone has to hire some new guys - and I think a smart GM can hire a good basketball mind regardless of the amount of NBA experience (and they should be cheaper since they have no coaching resume to back it up)

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 18:10

It's funny that the NFL seems to like hiring qualified (or not) assistants to run their teams, while the NBA has a history of hiring guys who were run out of other cities (Terry Porter, Mike Dunleavy, Eddie Jordan, PJ Carlesimo, etc.)

I mean, Eric Spoelstra (sp?) seems to be doing alright for himself. His team always seems very prepared to play.

JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 6 at 18:13

Spolestra, Lawrence Frank did a good job (and got hosed this year in my opinion) in New Jersey.

But the greater point is that at some point EVERYONE was a first time coach even the great (rat) Larry Brown was a first time coach.

Heck I think Phil Jackson was a failure at his first NBA head coaching job, but I might be wrong.

Point is that I think focusing on the retreads to me indicates maybe a fear of being unable to evaluate whether or not a guy would make a good or bad head coach which is one of the most important things a GM does

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 18:17

Phil coached a lot in Latin America and the CBA, but his first NBA job was with the Bulls after being Doug Collins' assistant for a few years. Still, that proves our point though, right? He had MJ, but it still was his first time and he figured it out in a great way.

Beyond the fact that no one gives first-timers a shot, I think a hungry assistant would be a perfect fit psychologically for this team as well. Think about it, the roster is growing up w/ the coach, instead of being at odds, they're all pulling for each other. Growing up together. I just think a young guy with a solid fundamental grasp on the game and some simple, common sense game theory on both ends of the floor could really rally these guys, even the older guy who was always a coach's dream before Jordan. Give a passionate, hungry assistant a shot and see what happens.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:22

Beyond the fact that no one gives first-timers a shot,

You know, aside from Pat Riley just two seasons ago...what does he know about basketball?

Few people give first-timers a shot. Accuracy police.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:27

Again, i think it's EASIER to hire a retread - don't have to realy determine what he can and can't do - i think it's a failing of a GM if he keeps going back to 'names he knows'...

I would be curios to know what sort of involvement Stefanski had when the nets hired frank and scott - if any

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 18:29

Looking quick at the number, 8 or 9 of the current coaches are on their 1st stint with a team. Two are desperate GMs (NJ and NO), 3 are relatively succesful- (SA, ATL, MIA). 2 are doing nice jobs (OKC MEM and TOR) and Kurt Rambis who has a young and bad team.

harry reply to Rich on Jan 6 at 19:08

i think rambis coached the lakers

yeah, 14 games or something like that. He finished out a season.

Rich reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:22

I agree 1000 % with this. It would give the team a true identity and an established, arrogant coach like Jordan is the worst possible fit. A young and hungry guy who would be willing to learn on the job fits exactly with a team who is trying to do the same.

JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 6 at 18:28

Well all I want is a coach who understands that

A. This is a good defense team
B. The strength is in transition usually
C. Wants to make the system fit the pieces

Jordan has his system - even though thep ieces don't fit (offensively) and defensively he's a moron

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:32

And you might be one of the most optimistic, but I think Jordan is slightly more optimistic than you :)

I've got the harmony and effort award cornered. He can take his optimism uptown.

He was a big Eddie Jordan guy during the search for a coach, wasn't he?

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 17:38

I believe he was Pro Eddie yes

I was pro eddie too because I didn't think he'd screw up the defense, he'd just install an offense on a team that didn't seem to HAVE a half court offense under Mo and DiLeo

Alvin reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 7 at 0:33

Except that neither DiLeo or Mo had a fit Elton Brand, and the current coach has him but loves keeping him on the bench even when he's kicking ass.

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:36

And one more thing

I don't credit Stefanski for any draft picks, DiLeo makes the picks, and he (and quality picking) pre-date Stefanski. He didn't hire DiLeo, so he doesn't get credit for DiLeo's quality picks.

I opposed Mo being hired, so the extension was dumb, and I wanted Miller traded from the moments he arrived in Philly so Stefanski just perpetuated the annoyingness of it all.

I think you have to give the GM some credit, for listening to his guru if nothing else. What if Larry Brown hadn't been able to bully the GM in the Larry Brown draft? Knowing who to listen to and who to ignore is part of the job.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:10

I think that was a special circumstance in that the sixers GM (King) was the head coaches (Brown) lap dog - he never deserved a job and wouldn't have had it if not for Brown - he was beholden to Brown and did anything he said.

The moment Brown left, DiLeo was back in charge of the draft, so to me that's not a 'smart' move by DiLeo but more of a failing of King while Brown was here

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:39

But Brian - instead of Elton Brand he should of (sic) signed Jason Smith - duh

double duh.

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:44

Since I've advocated Comcast get out of the sixer business for a couple years now - I'm going to keep beating that impossible drum

I love the idea of a President of Basketball Operations type guy, but do you think (if options 2-4 are true) that Snider would be willing to spend money to get one of those guys on top of a GM? I mean, a guy like Donnie Walsh has that title, but isn't he the GM in practice as well?

Use the money they saved by not sending a team to the summer league in Vegas to pay him :)

Maybe the guy you hire takes over as GM when he comes in, who knows. I just want someone who knows what he's doing to come in and make that decision, if that makes sense.

Rich reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 17:58

Speaking of that, the two teams that wasted their time by joining teams, have a combined record of 13-55. I'm gonna say that was a waste of time, letting Jrue get his hands dirty with Terrence Williams jacking shots.

It was mostly CDR jacking shots, but point well taken.

JohnEMagee on Jan 6 at 17:54

what's jerry west doing these days?

I would trust Jimmy Lynam(If he wants to do it) managing this team for the remainder of the season. Dump O'Koren, also. Increase the responsibility of McKie & Ayers and go from there.

JohnEMagee reply to sfw on Jan 6 at 17:57

Find out if Eric Snow ever wants to be an NBA head coach, and if he does tell him the truth - you gotta be an assistant first - get him in here and give him the title of 'jrue holliday tutor'

Ayers is gone. Anyone with the stink of Jordan, especially he stink of being Jordan's defensive guru, needs to be unemployed.

Rich reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:01

Ayers was the main instructor of "pick and roll defense" during training camp. It looks a lot like "pick your nose defense" (zing!).

Alas, he's gotta go too.

You mean two hockey guys and a former college hoops player who made money in the mortgage market before the bust are not the ideal NBA brain trust? I wouldn't let them pick my YMCA team.

Seriously though, seems like everyone who made a big signing in the summer '08 got burned by the cap going down and over-rating the talent pool. It just happens the Sixers were the biggest spender that summer. Only Josh Smith worked out- but that was because Atl was in a financial crisis already and really played hardball.


Thats a lot of money anchoring down several organizations- none more than the Sixers.

...but as I've said before, making an understandable mistake does not make it acceptable. Nor does it make ES less culpable. we pay or GM to be ahead of the curve. The only way he's shown that is by getting out of the mortgage business before the bust.

There's one guy on your list who has earned his money, whether you want to admit it or not :)

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:14

Okafor right?

No, Vujacic.

He's earning his current salary... and would not be an issue if that other guy wasn't being overpaid.

BTW, I was on the record saying he should get 6yr 66M at 11M a year with no escalation (or even start higher a few years and then decline.) IMO these escalating deals are dangerous and lazy.

Do we think that DiLeo is just a good scout/college evaluator and wouldn't be fit to make NBA personnel decisions?

No idea. I don't see him as a talkative type, seems a little introverted to me, so he may not be great at working the phones if you're asking if he could step in as GM.

I think if you can evaluate talent, you should be able to do it at any level. He just seems to have the eye for it, but that's obviously not the whole job.

Rich reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:46

I agree, but the one thing that is pretty much certain is that he is the only person who the fan base pretty much unanimously feels is great at his job.

He doesn't have the great personality, but that's not necessary if he is a smart guy. It does seem that good NBA GM's have some personality, but I think a lot of people don't like Ainge in the business and Kupchak is a little bit of a mystery to me.

He hired Jordan on their relationship alone. They had that "chalk talk" at a Cheesecake Factory over 2 Michelob Ultras and tiramisu. There wasn't any coaching search, that was all bull.

Their friends, think about it. If there were an opening at work and you had a friend that was unemployed, even if he was a slacker, wouldn't you get him the job even though you know someone out there can probably do it better? I would.

Good write up Brian as always. Kate had another piece a few days back about how Jordan is ruing the team. She is our hope.

No way would I hire a slacker friend to do a meaningful job where his shitty performance would reflect badly upon me for hiring him.

Ryan F reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 18:48

I have, if they make you look like an ass then it's time for them to go. That's where I differ from ES.

Every time I get a text and I see its from 79710, I pray that it will be great news but its always about another team doing something positive, or about Gilbert Arenas.

I hate to watch this team lose but it feels gratifying to think that every L may make them fire EJ.

The bitter man's silver lining. I'm right there with ya.

Best Sixers news today:

Timberwolves vs. Warriors. One of them has to win!

Jeff reply to Brian on Jan 6 at 20:50

Could both teams forfeit the game due to some freak incident?

Words/thoughts couldn't be put together any better than what you just wrote.

I don't have the confidence in this team's ownership to realize these flaws with the team. However, at one point one must ask, how much is enough?
As you mentioned, there has to be some breaking point. Somewhere along the lines, someone with some power has to realize something needs to be changed/fixed.
At the very best - coach/gm are fired and ownership changed
At the very worst - players get the blame and are traded away for guys who match Jordan's "system."
I pray we never see the worst.

It is actually pretty easy to argue that since the Barkley trade since this has been irrelevant in the NBA and in the city than it has been relevant. Worst run sports franchise in the city the past 20+ years dating back to the end of the Katz regime.

bebopdeluxe on Jan 6 at 22:30

Brilliant. Simply fucking brilliant.

You and Kate are my hope. There has to be some intern who is printing these blog entries out and showing them to Snider...right?

These clowns have to be on the ropes. Normally I am not a fan of a team lying down to get a coach fired but I grant special dispensation in this case.

Maybe I am a fool but I think Kate's getting (publicly) on the wagon will speed things along. There is no question that once Jordan is gone, the local sports media will pile on about what a disaster he was (I remember the post-Moe articles thinking: didn't you guys rave about his schticky offense in summer camp...?) But up until now, no one in the media had really outright acknowledged what is obvious to the plain eye of an even casual fan: Emperor EJ is buck fucking naked coaching this team. She hinted at it in one her recent posts, and even this piece is not as blatant as it could be. But this is the team's beat writer saying essentially "I could coach better than this guy and here's how..."

I bet EJ does not make it to Feb 1, and it might be sooner than that.

The Artist Formerly Known As Michael Bourn on Jan 6 at 22:45

Awesome writeup Brian. While incessantly continuing to advocate Jordan/Stefanski's firing on both blogs, this is a sweet look at the domino effects of Stefanski's GM tenure thus far. I don't think there's a single thing I disagree with here. Marry me?


Thank you from another season ticket holder. I am not renewing my tickets next year if EJ is the coach. NO WAY. I am thinking of giving away them even this year as I cannot even justify paying for parking!

Lets all of make sure we give Kate some thanks. Her boss is Jim Cohen, his email is jcohen@phillynews.com. She maybe laying her job on the line for us. She is the only professional writer I see so far on the sixers.

marklapinski on Jan 7 at 0:22

Wow, many of these comments are right on target. I hope to join your discussions in the future.

Starting trending topic on Twitter:


Would like to get some traffic for it.

Kenneth on Jan 7 at 1:57

Wow, that Kate Fagan piece on EJ was brutal. I'm glad someone, besides Brian, is telling it like it is. I really hope Ed S. and crew are reading some of the stuff Brian and Kate are writing. It's really insightful and interesting to read...and gives all of us an outlet to let out some of our frustrations with the Sixers, particularly the coach.

Btw, I echo everyone's sentiments on EJ...


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