Jordan's system is specialized, Arenas says

If you listen to Gilbert Arenas - and sometimes it's hard not to - this 76ers season might be like trying to fit a round Basketball through a square rim.

After yesterday's Washington Wizards practice, Arenas, Washington's all-star guard, spoke with reporters about the offensive system of Sixers coach Eddie Jordan.

"You need five passers, five shooters," said Arenas, who played in Jordan's system for five-plus seasons. "Athletes don't work in that offense, to be honest."

And if you're honest, right now, that's what the Sixers have: athletes.

Tonight at the Verizon Center, the Sixers , Jordan's new team, play the Wizards, his former team.

Exactly a year ago today, the Wizards, now 3-9, fired Jordan after starting the season at 1-10. Jordan was without two of his starters, including Arenas.

Six months later, the Sixers hired Jordan, confident that his read-and-react offense - commonly known as the Princeton - would fit the team's personnel.

In five full seasons with Washington, Jordan made four playoff appearances - each year except his first.

So the question for the Sixers is not whether the offensive system should be working already - it seems there's enough evidence proving it's too early - but whether the Sixers have five passers and five shooters.

That is, if we are to believe Arenas' assessment.

The Sixers are 5-8, and appear to need a few more shooters.

Yesterday, Arenas talked about his former coach and his former coach's system.

In their first season together, 2003-04, the Wizards finished 25-57.

"We struggled bad that year," Arenas said. "Then the next couple years we got better. It's like when you're in a system for a while and you're transferring on to a new system, things take a while. There are so many reads. You have to read each other.

"I call it the thinking man's offense. If you don't have a very high IQ, you're always going to be lost."

A season later, Washington was 45-37 and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"It takes a while," said Washington's Caron Butler, a two-time all-star under Jordan. "It took me like 40 games in it to get accustomed to the system.

"Once I was familiar in it, it still took awhile. There's so many options - the second, third, fourth options, and all those reads. You've got to take your time, got to learn it."

Arenas said the Wizards aren't excited about tonight because it's their old coach.

"It's more for the fans," Arenas said. "They thought they lost a good man, and we all felt we lost a good man. But he got a job, and unfortunately it's on the East Coast."

Knowing the O. Sixers forward Thaddeus Young said that when the Sixers played Washington in the preseason, the Wizards, because they used Jordan's system for over five seasons, knew the play calls before Young did.

"Caron was telling me where to go," Young said. "I just thought that was crazy. He was telling me where to go and I still ended up getting the ball.

"We know they know all the plays. We just want to go out there and try to execute and play defense because they can't stop defense. They can't know our defensive scheme."

Brand's numbers. In the last three games, Sixers power forward Elton Brand has played 38.3 minutes a game, up from 27.1 minutes. In those games, he has scored 59 points and grabbed 36 rebounds.

"He's getting his numbers," Jordan said. "Stats-wise, he's improving. I still want to see him improve in the things that don't show up on the stat sheet - his rotation, his transition defense, things that show up on the film, things that he and others have to improve upon."

Kapono practices. Sixers forward Jason Kapono, who didn't play in Saturday night's loss to Cleveland because of a sprained ankle, was a full-go at yesterday's practice. He will be available for tonight's game.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 24, 2009