The Morning Extras: Report Says Eddie Jordan On Hot Seat

The Morning Extras: Report Says Eddie Jordan On Hot Seat

The news came trickling in behind the Sixers' latest pathetic effort last night, a 107-96 loss in Indiana that featured all around sloppy play. The Inquirer's Kate Fagan quotes Ed Stefanski, who said the club will "seriously evaluate" whether Eddie Jordan is the right coach for this team. Sources also added the players "no longer believe in Jordan's coaching system or philosophies," and it's difficult to disagree. If there was supposed to be some semblance of an offense against the Pacers, I didn't see it.

The problem is, the Sixers would be falling into old habits if they fire their coach after one season. Ever since Larry Brown quit, they've dumped one coach after another, hoping answers, or perhaps more appropriately, miracles could come from their bench. Only one was given the opportunity to stay on for any amount of time and actually attempt to develop an identity for this club. Don't you think some consistency would help?

I honestly don't know if Eddie Jordan is a good basketball coach. It's been a brutal season, but the Sixers as they're currently constructed are no better than a .500 team anyway, no matter who is on the bench. Blaming the head coach while you try to win games with Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand as the corner stones of your franchise sounds like a bunch of nonsense.

What I do know is Jordan is already the sixth Sixers head coach since Larry Brown departed in 2003. They've had Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O'Brien, Maurice Cheeks, and Tony DiLeo, with only Cheeks staying on for more than one season. It sends the message to the players that they don't need to listen to the guy in charge, that if things don't work out right away, he'll get canned and the next one will come along. Then they start over again.

If firing Jordan is what they conclude is the right thing at the end of the season, it's hard to argue they would be wrong for doing so, but please, pick somebody and stick with them for awhile. This is a young team. There may be a few good players on this roster. They're never going to get the most out of them though unless they install a teacher who the players have confidence is going to be there beyond next season.

LINKS

7. The Phillies could be searching for outfield depth in 2011 depending on how the roster shakes out over the course of the next year. Could Pat Burrell return to give them some pop off the bench? [Beerleaguer]

6. The NBA's youngest player, Jrue Holiday, ranks eighth in an SI poll for rookie NBA point guards. They might be underselling Holiday, who has been one of the lone bright spots for the Sixers lately. He's dropped 20 points three times in the last five games, and he now leads the club in three point percentage. [SI.com]

5. Much has been made of Sports Illustrated ranking Ruben Amaro 19th out of 30 MLB general managers, but it's Ed Wade's 29th place finish that was curious. Well... not really. [Finger Food]

4. Simon Gagne continues to score at a feverish pace. Last night was his fifth goal in five games. He's had much more of a presence on the ice, and is getting himself in position to shoot the puck. If this is for real, look out. [Daily News]

3. Speaking of players who are finding their groove, there was a mini-scare last night when Dan Carcillo was cut by a skate. He turned out to be fine, and it's a good thing. The energy he brings combined with his newfound maturation are a big reason the Flyers are playing so well. [Broad Street Hockey]

2. Ryan Howard is trying to make defenses respect his ability to hit the ball the other way and eliminate the shift. You don't want to take the bat out of the big guy's hands, but he could cause a lot of damage if he did this even situationally. [Delco Times]

1. The Eagles are scheduled to have Colts defensive back and former first round pick Marlin Jackson for a visit today, amid reports proposing he could play free safety. Another theory about the team's interest calls it a pre-draft bluff. [Iggles Blog]

COMMENT OF THE DAY

In Philly the most popular players are:

1. The backup QB

2. The "6th starter" (in this case Kendrick trying to outduel Moyer)

3. The backup goaltender or the dream guy we dont have

- Bob

EXTRA POINT

Claude Giroux's 14th goal of the season last night was "nasty." (fixed)

kulp700level@comcast.net

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we analyze the job head coach Brett Brown has done this season.

Haughton
Brown's performance has already resulted in more wins than any other season under his leadership, but it continues to be a complex judgment.

He's still tied to an extremely young roster, which lends itself to the high number of turnovers, mistakes coming out of timeouts and defensive breakdowns. 

However, he has managed to get several players to show growth in their games and make sure the Sixers remain balanced even with Joel Embiid's emergence. That can also be attributed to Brown's emphasis on state of play and not state of pay.

He turned to T.J. McConnell ($874,636 salary) at starting point guard over Sergio Rodriguez ($8 million) because the second-year pro has proven to be a better fit and has routinely moved Gerald Henderson ($9 million) from starter to reserve.

Then of course, there has been Brown's handling of the Sixers' mashup at center. The coach has found each guy minutes when he can and, according to the players, been up front about all potential minutes and trade scenarios.

Perhaps Brown's finest job this season has come in a role he thought was over: team delegate. Once Sam Hinkie exited and Bryan Colangelo proclaimed he would be more open with information, Brown certainly had to think his days of standing in front of the media to explain every single thing going on with the franchise were over. Think again. 

Still, Brown's been there each day, answering just about every question thrown his way from injuries to trade rumors. If nothing else, he deserves to be commended for dealing with that ... again.

Hudrick
It's amazing what a few NBA-caliber players can do.

After accumulating a 47-199 record over his first three seasons, Brown has led the Sixers to a 21-35 mark so far this season. Sure, much of the credit for the team's success has to do with adding legitimate NBA talent (and a legitimate NBA star in Embiid). With that said, you're finally starting to see Brown's fingerprints on the Sixers.

A protégé of Gregg Popovich's with the Spurs, Brown preaches defense and ball movement. The Sixers' defense has been a catalyst for their success this season. As Brown says in his Bostralian accent, the defensive end is where the Sixers' "bread is buttered." 

With unselfish players with decent court vision like Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson added to the mix, the Sixers don't look like a total disaster in the half court. They're ninth in the NBA at 23.5 assists per game. They haven't finished higher than 15th in the league in any of Brown's three seasons. 

When you consider what Brown has gone through and how he's managed to keep everything positive, it's incredible. Hinkie pegged Brown as his guy, knowing that Brown was an excellent teacher and had the right attitude to deal with losing. You have to be encouraged by what you've seen out of Brown and the Sixers this season.

Flyers Skate Update: Power play shakeup seems to be working

Flyers Skate Update: Power play shakeup seems to be working

VOORHEES, N.J. — They had taken another “0-for” on the power play on the road and lost a game in which they deserved to at least get a point.

Dave Hakstol had seen enough. Numbers don’t always tell a story. Yet, in the Flyers' case, they did: 4 for 42 on the power play over 12 games, including that 3-1 loss at Calgary.

The next morning in Edmonton, Hakstol met privately with Jakub Voracek to discuss, among other things, the power play. That night, Hakstol moved Voracek off the first unit power play and replaced him with Ivan Provorov.

He then told Shayne Gostisbehere to change his location on the power play on the half wall and let Provorov, the Russian rookie, worry about the blue line.

In the two games since, the power play is 3 for 6 and has the Flyers back up to ninth in the NHL after falling to 13th during that 12-game span of utter futility.

How the power play goes tonight against the Washington Capitals is critical if the Flyers have any shot of taking points away from the top club in the league.

“It’s a little bit different look,” Hakstol said. “We’re comfortable with either of the setups we have there. Whether it’s with Jake on the flank of the [Claude] Giroux unit or having Ghost there.

“Both are effective. Within the game, we can go back and forth with the other. We’ve had some pretty good play out of the other unit, regardless of the setup.”

Provorov has a very accurate point shot. Gostisbehere has the hardest shot of any on the top unit. The rest of the first unit – Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds – hasn’t changed.

“We can’t score,” Provorov said bluntly. “We needed to change something up to spark the scoring. It definitely helped us. Now the two units have a different setup in the zone.

“Just a little different. It took us first game to get used to. We did pretty good in the second game [Vancouver].”

Ghost has never played the half-wall. He thinks this will help him snap a 32-game goal drought. He had three assists – two on the power play – against the Canucks on Sunday.

“It’s completely different,” Gostisbehere said. “I’ve always been at the top [blue line]. It’s definitely a different perspective from that view. I think I’ll get a lot more shots and plays that can be made.”

Voracek watches him when that unit is on the ice and offers advice after the shift.

“I have been talking to Jake a ton for pointers,” Gostisbehere said. “When I am out there, if you see something I could have done, please tell me. He is such an easy guy to talk to. He will give you the pointers right away.”

Hakstol said moving Ghost closer to the net has a payoff.

“He is in a pure one-timer side there if he gets himself in the right position,” Hakstol said. “But there is still some work we have to do there in terms of his overall positioning in that spot.

“He brings a different element than Jake does in that spot. Both of them were very, very effective in that spot. They just have different weapons.”

Even though there have been changes, Voracek still rotates back to the first unit if Provorov is on the ice the previous shift before the power play begins.

Because of Travis Konecny’s knee and ankle injuries, Sean Couturier’s second unit has changed the most. Mark Streit anchors from the point with Coots, Nick Cousins and Matt Read below the blue line and Voracek on the right-wall.

That unit has more player rotation on the ice than the top unit.

Hakstol doesn’t buy the argument the Flyers' power play crashed because it became too predictable. 

“In the game now, there’s not much hidden,” Hakstol said. “Everyone knows what the other team is trying to do, regardless of 5-on-5 or special teams.

“For us, it was a good time to make a small change that changes the look for our guys on the ice.”

Loose pucks
• A dozen players showed up for the optional morning skate at Skate Zone, more than half of what was expected. 

• Michal Neuvirth will start in goal tonight against Washington. 

• On Tuesday, Voracek got hit with a puck below the belt, during a tip drill in which Voracek tipped a shot into himself. “Feeling better,” he said today. 

• This morning was goalie Steve Mason’s turn to get hit. He took a point shot from Andrew MacDonald in the mask. Mason was temporarily shaken but no damage to either him or his mask.  

Lineup
F:
Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds
Weise-Couturier-Voracek
Raffl-Cousins-Read
VandeVelde-Bellemare-Lyubimov

D: Provorov-Manning
Gostisbehere-Streit
Del Zotto-Gudas

G: Neuvirth