SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Before last night's win over the Sacramento Kings, 76ers coach Eddie Jordan said he had a "special relationship" with Kings assistant coach Pete Carril.
Jordan credits Carril, the legendary coach at Princeton, for teaching him the read-and-react offense he employs with the Sixers.
There seems to be a clash of ideas between mentor and prodigy.
Carril said Jordan's offense was missing something.
"He needs a point guard," Carril said before the game. "And then they'll get a lot better. A guy that knows how to get them easier shots than what they're getting . . . it's been ragged."
Last summer, when Jordan and Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski sold the value of this offense with the Sixers' current roster, both said no point guard was needed.
This philosophy was reiterated when last season's starting point guard, Andre Miller, signed with the Portland Trail Blazers and again when the ball was given to current point guard Lou Williams.
Does Carril think that a player on the Sixers' roster can fill this void?
"I thought the guy who could do it is A.I., Allen Iverson," Carril said. "If he wanted to. Right now, he doesn't need anything else to prove what a great player he is or was or whatever. He doesn't need anything; he's had enough recognition. Now he can play a different way to help the other guys."
The Kings are, once again, relevant.
For that, they can thank rookie point guard Tyreke Evans, native of Chester, graduate of American Christian Academy, leading contender for NBA Rookie of the Year honors.
Last night, Evans missed his second consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle.
"He's got a little history with that foot going back to high school," Geoff Petrie, the team's president of basketball operations, told the Sacramento Press. "I know he wants to play, but I don't know. We'll have to see how he feels."
Evans played one season at the University of Memphis. In June, Petrie made him the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft. Last season, the Kings were the league's worst team, with a 17-65 record. The Kings are 14-17 overall, 11-6 at home.
This season, Evans, 20, is averaging 20.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists a game.
"I think Tyreke is going to be a great player," said the Sixers' Williams. "Obviously, he's done a great job up until this point with this young team, him being a young guy, getting them to a bunch of wins. I think he's going to be one of those players we talk about for years to come."
"Great player as a young kid, powerful, smart - he has a knack for doing a lot of things on the floor," Jordan said. "He's just a well-rounded player. . . . Look, he's a high pick - the NBA mostly doesn't lie, and especially Geoff Petrie. He knows talent."
The Kings also have a former Lenape High School star, 6-foot-11 forward Jason Thompson. Through 30 games, Thompson was averaging 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
Jordan said so far this season, he sees no disappointments. Entering the game, the Sixers were 8-22, second-worst in the Eastern Conference. Jordan called the season's first 30 games part of the "gradual progression" he expected.
"You have to go through a little struggle to make sure your roots are planted in the ground, to be sure you're stronger when the season comes at the end," he said.
The Houston Rockets have made it known they will look to trade forward Tracy McGrady, whose expiring contract makes him desirable. Rumors have circulated about whether the Sixers could manage to put together a trade package with Houston.
According to a source close to the situation, "nothing is happening" between the two teams, although the Sixers have contacted Houston about center Samuel Dalembert.
In May, both the Sixers and the Kings had head coaching vacancies: Jordan interviewed for both. At the time, Jordan was believed to be the first choice for both franchises; Jordan accepted the Sixers job before Sacramento finished its coaching search. In the end, the Kings hired Paul Westphal.