Does Sixers Coach Eddie Jordan Have Any Final Shot Strategy?

Bryan ToporekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2010

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 30:  Guard Willie Green #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against the Dallas Mavericks on November 30, 2009 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


Another day, another one-point or two-point loss for the Sixers.

While the opponents change, the story remains the same: The Sixers have the ball, down one or two points with one possession left, someone manages to take an ill-advised three-pointer, and they lose the game in regulation.

At the beginning of December, it was Andre Iguodala taking an off-balance, fade-away three-pointer in a one-point loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.  Five days before that, after hitting a game-tying three with 5.6 seconds left, Iggy bricked another potential game-winning three after Dallas' Jason Terry drilled a 17-footer with 1.4 seconds left.

One week ago, Lou Williams was the anti-hero who bricked a last-second three in a two-point loss to Toronto.  And five days ago, seldom-used Rodney Carney got in on the brick party, missing on a 25-footer at the end of regulation to send the Sixers to a one-point loss at the hands of the New York Knicks.

"We fight to the end, but for whatever reason, it never happens," Williams said after the loss to Toronto.

Well, Lou, I've got one guess at why it never happens.  ("It" being you winning close games, of course.)

Because it seems like your coach, Eddie Jordan, doesn't understand the fundamentals of basketball.

You see, Lou, in basketball, you don't have to always go for a game-winning shot if you're down with one shot left.  Contrary to popular belief, a tie at the end of regulation is actually allowed, according to the bylaws of the NBA.  

On the rare occasion that a game happens to be tied at the end of regulation, it goes into this extra period called "overtime," where both teams get to play five more minutes to decide a game, instead of hanging their hopes on one shot.

For some reason, your coach doesn't seem to understand this "overtime" period.  When the Sixers have the ball, down one or two points, with one possession left...a seemingly-random Sixer will take an ill-advised three-pointer to try and win the game right then and there.

And it never works.

The Sixers rank 17th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage, shooting 35 percent from downtown.  They shoot 45 percent from two.  

Does Eddie Jordan have that  little confidence in his team that he's always in a win-or-go-home mentality?

Granted, this could be unwarranted criticism of Jordan.  Maybe he draws up a play to go to the inside each time, and the opponents seem to always foil his plans while leaving someone wide open from three.  (In fact, against the Knicks, the play was supposedly drawn up to go inside to Marreese Speights, but the Knicks had double-teamed him, leaving Carney wide open from 25 feet.)

Maybe there's a reason those teams leave those players open, though.  Maybe they want the Sixers taking those shots.

Maybe Jordan should have a "Plan A" (like the play to Speights) and a "Plan B," both drawn inside the three-point line , in case "Plan A" goes to hell.

But for the love of God, coach Jordan, please tell your players to stop jacking up low-percentage threes as their final shot in a close game?

I know your Princeton offense got put on the shelf for now, but there's a few fundamental basketball plays that these Sixers still need to learn.

Please teach them to take a smart shot if they're going to try and win a game at the buzzer.  Or teach them about overtime.

But don't make me watch any more jacked up threes at the final buzzer.  

You're better than that.  I hope.