"If I thought I was doing a poor job and I thought maybe we should have been better, maybe it would have been different," Jordan said. "But we were not on the same page and this is not the team that everyone thinks it should be. If you’re going to do it for marketing, for fans, and for the media, that’s for the wrong things. Be honest and be sincere about where you are as a team. And as an organization. So it didn’t happen. And that’s how I feel about it."
Jordan was asked if he believes Arenas can be the leader that Flip Saunders needs him to be for this team succeed, and he didn't exactly give him an endorsement. . .
"He’s capable of leading them in scoring and he’s capable of leading them in having a presence that’s very competitive and that’s very contagious," Jordan said. "I don’t know if he can be a leader -- I just don’t know that, I’m not saying he can’t be, I just don’t know if he can be."
In NBA circles Idan Ravin [aka The Hoops Whisperer] inspires a wide range of reactions. Some coaches, such as the 76ers' Eddie Jordan, see him as a resource. A few years ago, when Jordan was coaching the Wizards, he had a hard time talking with Brendan Haywood, the center who was then sharing minutes with Etan Thomas and was none too happy about it. "Brendan loved working out with [Ravin]," Jordan remembers, "so I went to Idan and asked, 'How do you keep a positive relationship with Brendan?' "
Ravin explained that Haywood merely wanted to be involved, to be part of the process. "You think he's challenging you, but all you have to do is ask his opinion," Ravin said. "Brendan's a cerebral guy. Empower him."
Jordan took the advice to heart. "I carried it over to my daily regimen, the idea that this is what I have to do with Brendan," he says, "and by the end we had a great relationship."
Because the Wizards ran an up-tempo offense during Jordan's tenure, he is known as an offensive-minded coach, but a source close to him indicated that the fast pace matched the team's personnel and that Jordan was as adept on the defensive side of the ball.
In Washington, of course, Eddie Jordan fought through injuries to give the franchise four straight playoff appearances, and he was rewarded with a hearty firing once the injuries (to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood) were too much to overcome. Now, it's Reggie Theus, who was given a roster on which half the players were 25 or younger, with the added bonus of having two of his top players, Francisco Garcia and Kevin Martin, out for big chunks of the year -- Garcia and Martin have played in one game together. But the Kings were losing, so, fire the coach.
The fact that these firings have all come in rapid succession is, in part, coincidence. But there's a little more to it than that. Around the league, patience is at an all-time low, which could very well be the fault of the league's best team -- Boston. Don't forget that, at this time two years ago, the Celtics were a miserable bunch, with Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers on the way out and Paul Pierce angling for the door, too. Now they're the best team in the league and defending champs.
"It's ludicrous, but I do think that's a factor," said one general manager. "The Celtics turned things around so fast that everyone is feeling the pressure to do the same. So you get good people fired. But what do you expect? Not everyone can go and trade for Kevin Garnett. I mean, what was Sacramento expecting? Reggie Theus was learning on the job. You have to give it time. But no one wants to give it time."
One interesting aspect of all the coaching mayhem has been -- stay with me on this tangent here -- the economy. There's been fear about what the nation's economic troubles will mean for sports, but so far, what we've seen on the court has been unaffected. Except when you look at the coaching ranks. It's still very early in the season, and qualified ex-coaches like Flip Saunders and Avery Johnson (as well as interesting would-be coaches like Mark Jackson) are out there. But every team that has fired its coach has so far said it would stick with its interim coach for the year. Which is a wise thing to do if you're trying to save a buck.
Curry's goal is to keep everyone fresh for the stretch -- which wasn't always the case during former coach Flip Saunders' three-year tenure.
Coach Jordan said that during the last two practices prior to the Rockets game he focused a great deal on rebounding since that has been lacking during the last few games. He instructed his players to find a body when a shot goes up, rather than looking for the ball or looking to run down court. Coach Jordan quoted legendary Princeton and Sacramento coach Pete Carill when discussing rebounding. Coach Carill told him that rebounders come to the gym with towels because they come prepared to work hard; shooters come to the gym with pretty bags. The assumption being rebounds get down and dirty, shooters do no such thing. Coach Jordan is looking for his players to bring towels.
Well, you know, we give guys a chance. And the opportunity is there for them. And if you give great effort, you get the benefit of the doubt. But if it's not enough effort there, and it wasn't sincere effort, then you're not going to play.
Wizards down one, 9.2 seconds to play, must-win game. What's the play?
There's a play Eddie Jordan loves to run called "ISO Giant," and it goes like this:
Dixon inbounds to McGee. McGee dunks the ball in his own basket. Wizards now down three. Dixon inbounds to Muresan, who has been summoned from VIP lounge, where he runs the executive nacho dispenser. Muresan swings to Jamison in the corner. Defense rotates, but Arenas anticipates the shift, positions wheelchair behind the defender and yanks his shorts down. Jamison drops 3-point finger roll at the buzzer. Analyst Doug Collins screams "Kiss me, Michael!" and stabs DeShawn Stevenson. Wizards make technical free throw, win game.
• TrueHoop, ESPN's NBA blog
"We're just trying to do what we do. It will be good to defend against another offense instead of our offense, to see other players. We're on the road; it seems like Washington has done a good job in Dallas this year, and we're going to see if we can do the same."
"His approach, his intelligence is top notch," Jordan said. "He is one of the most intelligent guys on the team, in the league. He works on his body, he maintains his body to be big and strong. His defense has improved greatly. There are some subtle things (he can improve on) like screening and cutting - things you guys don't always notice. But overall, his improvement was huge for us. We continue to see him work on his body and his game."