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Eddie Jordan Opens Up About His Time Coaching the Washington Wizards

Eddie Jordan, in his first year coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, says he had "more than moderate success" in the five-plus seasons he guided the Washington Wizards.
Eddie Jordan, in his first year coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, says he had "more than moderate success" in the five-plus seasons he guided the Washington Wizards. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/getty Images)

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That first regular season matchup is slated for Nov. 24 -- the anniversary of Jordan's firing. At the time of his firing, Jordan had been the Eastern Conference's longest-tenured coach. Chuck Daly, the late Hall of Fame coach, once said players start tuning out coaches after a few years, but Jordan wasn't sure if that applies to his situation.

"I don't know, maybe it does," he said, "But I don't think San Antonio lost [Gregg] Popovich's voice. I don't think Utah has lost Jerry Sloan's voice, and I don't think the Lakers lost Phil Jackson's voice."

Defensive about defense

Since Saunders has taken over, several of Jordan's former players, including Haywood, Andray Blatche and Arenas have criticized Jordan for various reasons. In his few sessions with the media, Arenas has disparaged Jordan's schemes and claimed that Jordan never allowed Arenas to be a team leader. He has also referred to Jordan as "the last coach" rather than by name.

"You think it bothers me," Jordan asked with chuckle. "It doesn't bother me, disappoint me. Gilbert is a wonderful person. I know Gilbert personally and I know him professionally. He's a heck of a competitor, one of the top players in the league when he's healthy. He did a lot for the franchise. He did a lot for me as a coach.

"Even in professional sports, there is a human side and I think Gilbert is a terrific human being," he said. "I would assume he said some things professionally and you cannot let that affect you."

During his time in Washington, the Wizards were an explosive offensive team but only got out of the bottom third in team defense during one season, 2007-08. Jordan contends that while he is noted for implementing the Princeton offense, he focused on defense as much, if not more.

"We emphasized it," Jordan said. "My philosophy is you have to be balanced because one affects another. It's the same sort of philosophy, the same methods, the same things we did in New Jersey and we were one of the top defensive teams in the league, going to the finals two years in a row."

Jordan added he lacked the personnel in Washington to be a great defensive team. "Your team shows you how to play. That's how it works. Still, because of that, that doesn't mean we put all of the efforts on offense," Jordan said.

Jordan said he doesn't have regrets about his time with the Wizards.

"I accomplished everything I wanted to do. We all know professional sports and other variables play a part. What you do is do the best you can do. I don't get hung up in, could you have done this? Do you think that could've happened? We created an atmosphere that is conducive to winning. I hope that [the fans] saw that we accomplished a lot through adversity, with injuries and issues like that. And they had a coach that put a sincere effort, every day, into his job."

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