Eddie Jordan got canned this morning, so we turn to resident Wiz fan/expert Jack Kogod A.K.A. Unsilent Majority for answers …
1. After making the playoffs four straight seasons, why’d Eddie get canned 11 games into this one?
The team was regressing before our very eyes and it was becoming apparent that Coach Jordan was losing the locker room. It was apparent in the way he coached and spoke publicly during the losing stretch. Jordan seemed to have run out of ideas for what to do with this roster. People will point to the injuries and Gilbert’s contracts as reasons why the team was losing, but there is way too much talent on the roster for the team to be this bad, and plenty of the 10 losses have been winnable. At some point you just have to ask what the hell the coach is thinking when he’s playing a lineup with no shooting guard and no center* during crucial minutes.
*The famed Dixon-Butler-Jamison-Blatche-Songaila lineup that ushered in a new era of confusion.
2. Should Ernie Grunfeld shoulder the blame, or is it all on Eddie?
Of course any time a team struggles the way the Wizards have there’s plenty of blame to go around, however I do believe that Grunfeld has provided Jordan with a roster that is as good or better than in years past. Yes, losing Roger Mason hurt more than some of us might have anticipated, but the team filled the hole fairly well with Juan Dixon. You can blame Ernie for re-upping with Gilbert if you want, but that really doesn’t have anything to do with what happened today and what’s been happening this season.
3. What’s known about Ed Tapscott, and how does his taking over change things?
Tapscott has plenty of experience as a coach and front office type at various levels. He coached American University in the ’80s and most recently served as the President of the Charlotte Bobcats until some asshole took on that job. After that he came to the Wizards in his current role as director of player development before last season when Dave Hopla came aboard. The fact that they’ve chosen Tapscott tells me that the team feels Associate Head Coach Mike O’Koren is too close to the old regime to be put in charge. I don’t really know what to expect from Tapscott, and his lack of any recent head coaching experience is pretty concerning.
And no, I have no clue who they might reach out to in the future to coach this team. I talked to Jeff Van Gundy at halftime of the Rockets game (ed. note: namedropper!) and he indicated that if it were his job the team would be winless. I didn’t disagree, mostly because I’d rather have his broadcast partner Marc Jackson. My pick to get the job remains Avery Johnson.
4. Where does this season go from here?
From here it’s all about improvement. Unlike a month ago I’m no longer thinking about possible playoff runs, instead I’m looking forward to the development of our young core. Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and Dominic McGuire need to do a better job of meshing with the veteran leaders on the team, and Tapscott can help in that regard.
With two all-stars on the roster and Gilbert (hopefully) on his way back there is no reason to think this team can’t make a run towards .500. It would kill our chances in the lottery, but at least we’d be able to see something positive moving forward. So I’m not really giving up on the season, but I don’t harbor delusions of some magical run.
5. In the end, what’s Eddie’s legacy in Washington?
Eddie’s legacy is one of consistency and playoff appearances. He was never able to get this team over the hump, but he’ll be remembered more for the good he did for this franchise. He’s a good man, a solid coach and a great Washingtonian, but it was time to move in a new direction.