Former Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan recently left the team to become head coach at Rutgers.
Jordan was brought in by Mike Brown to help teach the Lakers a version of the Princeton offense but Brown was let go five games into the regular season.
“When I was hired there, there was no Dwight Howard and there was no Steve Nash, and Mike Brown said, 'I want you to help me with the offense,'" Jordan said in an interview with Michael Lee of the Washington Post. "We went through the preseason running principles of the Princeton offense that Kobe [Bryant] had asked about and that Mike Brown presented to Kobe, and they agreed it was good for the Lakers."
The Lakers acquired Howard during the off-season, but he missed half of training camp as he while recovering from back surgery. Nash suffered a leg fracture in the second game of the season.
"The 0-8 preseason, we weren’t concerned about winning, we wanted to get guys in tune," continued Jordan. "Then Nash got hurt, then Dwight got hurt, Mike Brown got fired and it was an outcry and frankly -- I think a lot of people in basketball would know -- Mike Brown and his personality and his style, is great for solid NBA teams, but the Lakers are different. The Lakers are different. It was even hard for Mike D’Antoni to get it going.”
After a slow start, the Lakers finished the season with a 28-12 run but hit the postseason with injuries to Bryant, Nash, Steve Blake, Metta Work Peace and Jodie Meeks. A four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs sent the Lakers to an early off-season.
“I thought, maybe I could be a really solid assistant. It’s almost a perfect place,” said Jordan to the Washington Post. “We could win championships and I could sit there, and be like Tex Winter and let Phil Jackson take us to championships and I could retire in the sunset, but it didn’t go that way."
How does Jordan sum up the Lakers' year?
“It was a season of injuries, non-chemistry, getting to know each other as the season went along," said Jordan. "Clashes of personalities and approaches and then it was more injuries. The injury factor and chemistry kept it dysfunctional to where you couldn’t have great success."