For those of us worried whether the Sixers new high-powered offense would take away from their defense, here are some encouraging words from the Princeton master himself.
At an event designed as an offensive tutorial, the 76ers' new head coach, Eddie Jordan, made it clear his team would worry first about playing defense. "I think Lou is more athletic and a lot more determined defensively than the point guard they had here starting before," Jordan said, alluding to Miller, who signed this off-season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Athletic, yes, determined, we'll see.
"Again, there's another side of the ball," he said. "I tell our players every day, 'Look, I don't want to be in the offense. I want to get stops and get open-floor opportunities' ". "These players defend in pick-up games, they compete, they knock people down in the paint, and it gets my engines going that I wanted to start camp three weeks ago," he said. "This team has that oomph that you need to be competitive."
In another article dedicated to Eddie Jordan and the Princeton Offense, he can't help but talk more about the defense.
Let's explain: Jordan knows the strength of this team is its athleticism. Defensively, he wants to attack the ball, force turnovers, get out and run and get easy baskets. Ideally, that would be the major part of his offense. When asked about his defensive philosophy, Jordan's green eyes sparkled in anticipation. It is what he can't wait to get into with his team.
Eddie seems like a man with a plan, and I'm loving everything I'm hearing. Unlike last year when the "Elton Brand Offense" came to town, Cheeks decided to throw out what has worked in the past and go full-fledge "EB" Offense. Now Jordan comes in with a high-powered, complicated offense, and it sounds like he'd rather use it as a second option, and go with what has worked first.
"This is the Celtics' offense from the '60s, the Knicks' offense of the '70s," he said. "This is a reminder of how basketball is supposed to be played, I believe. In the late 1990s, there was a lot of stagnant offenses because of isolations. Guys would go on one side of the court and a player would go one-on-one. But the defensive rules have changed now and you can help better on defense and stop the isolations better.
This offense will get everyone involved. There is no featured player, no go-to guy. All will play to their strengths, whether it's Andre Iguodala posting up against smaller players and exploding to the basket or Elton Brand shooting midrange jumpers or Lou Williams breaking down a defender and getting to the basket or Thaddeus Young using his abundance of athleticism. And yes, Sam Dalembert also will be counted on offensively, mostly planting himself at the high post, setting screens, passing and shooting jumpers from the elbow.
"When I started last season, it wasn't 100 [percent], it wasn't there explosionwise," he said. "But now I have the one leg strength back, I have the two legs to bounce back. I've been training here the last 2 weeks so it feels good."
I won't spend too much time on Elton's health, because we heard all the same things last year. I'll believe it when I see it. Call me optimistic, but I think I'll see it sooner rather than later.
Here are a couple more EJ quotes from the Q & A.
"Attack, fast, quick point guard that gets to the rim ... we're going to give [Lou Williams] all the opportunity in the world to be a 38-minute a night player and, you know what, in the NBA that means a lot."
The question is: will his FG% match the number of minutes he's playing? I believe in Lou, but this will be his final opportunity to prove himself.
"[Dionte Christmas] going to have a real, legitimate shot at making our team."
"When we watched film [of last year] there was random basketball. Sometimes this happened and sometimes that happened and there was no reason. But there are reasons and there's a method to what we're doing on both sides of the ball."
New coach Eddie Jordan admitted that the players might not feel comfortable in the offense until "late in the season." So Jordan's course on Princeton Offense 101 can't begin soon enough for him or the players.
We'll all have to factor this into our predictions.
The main lesson, according to Jordan, is simply: "To see. We have to see what's available on the floor. It's a read and deliver offense. We try to train our players, 'What do you see when you have the ball? What do you see when you don't have the ball? There is a reaction to an action. When that action takes place, what do you see? Do you see a handoff or a jump shot? Or do you see a backdoor cut for a layup? Do you see a man open in the post? And if you do, what kind of cut will you use when you feed him?' "Repetition is the mother of all learning. We will do it every day. We'll teach them how to see." That's why Jordan insists the Sixers don't need a true point guard, that Lou Williams can succeed there even though he has never started a game in his previous four seasons. Jordan said guard/forward Andre Iguodala could start the offense as well.
An open letter to Philadelphia 76ers GM Ed Stefanski regarding his recent comments about the D-League.