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Assistant coach candidate profile: Eddie Jordan

July 11, 2012|By Mark Medina

This is the first post in a series looking at potential Lakers assistant coaches. Assistant coach Quin Snyder and team consultant Ettore Messina took coaching jobs with CSKA Moscow, a highly successful Euroleague team. Multiple reports, including from The Times' Mike Bresnahan, indicate Lakers Coach Mike Brown may fill that spot by hiring Eddie Jordan. 

Background: Jordan compiled a 257-343 record in head-coaching stints, including with the Sacramento Kings (1997-98), Washington Wizards (2004-08) and Philadelphia 76ers (2009-10). His ascension into coaching started as a volunteer assistant at Rutgers, his alma mater, in 1984. It continued with a part-time assistant spot with Old Dominion, an assistant coaching position at Boston College (1986) and then an assistant coaching job at Rutgers beginning in 1988.

Jordan also had assistant coaching spots before and after his first NBA head-coaching job with the Kings. He became an assistant coach with Sacramento for five seasons beginning in 1992 before replacing Gary St. Jean with 15 games left in the 1996-97 season. He led the Kings to a ninth-place finish in the Western Conference the following season, then was fired. He joined Byron Scott's coaching staff with the New Jersey Nets for four seasons, where he helped lead the Nets to two NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.

Jordan's other head-coaching stints ended in poor fashion. His 197 victories rank third on the Wizards' all-time list and he guided the team to four straight playoff berths. But he was let go after Washington's poor start to the 2008 season. Jordan coached the Philadelphia 76ers for one season in 1010-11. They finished with a 27-55 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. 

Even when he wasn't working in the NBA last season, Jordan showed he has the itch to coach. He even accepted a head-coaching position to coach the freshman boys basketball team at Carrol High, his alma mater in Washington, D.C.

Connection to Lakers and Brown: Jordan's seven-year NBA career included a stop with the Lakers, who acquired him from the New Jersey Nets in the 1980-81 season for a 1982 first-round pick (Eddie Phillips). He was a member of the Lakers' 1982 NBA championship team, though he played in only three games.  One of his teammates included current General Manager Mitch Kupchak, whom the Washington Post reported will meet with Jordan soon. The Lakers then traded Jordan  to the San Diego Clippers along with Norm Nixon and a 1986 first-round pick (Jeff Hornacek) for Swen Nater, Byron Scott and a 1987 second-round pick (Bruce Dalrymple). Although his impact with the Lakers was fairly minimal, Jordan tied for the league lead in steals with New Jersey during the 1978-79 season and finished second in the 1979-80 season.

As for Brown, the Washington Post reported he and Jordan sat near each other as they watched Team USA practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on the Nevada Las Vegas campus. But the two don't have any coaching history together. In fact, Brown and Jordan often coached against each other, most notably when the Wizards played the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs from 2006 to 2008. Brown's team won every series. 

Style: Jordan teaches the Princeton offense, which emphasizes constant movement, ranging from backdoor cuts and passing. He was often credited for teaching that system when the Nets made two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Still, some Sixers players publicly questioned whether the Princeton offense worked with the team's personnel.

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E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.

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