Full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02588.html
I think it's right on the money. Yes, Eddie did get a bit of a raw deal because of all the injuries, but ultimately it was the culture that completely de-emphasized defense that did him in.
I get the feeling this is one of them 'careful what you ask for' situations.
I think we'll find that EJ wasn't as much of a problem as you think on that front. I've repeated it ad nauseum, and TheSecretWizKev's article re-emphasized the point we've lost our best defensive player every year of Eddie's tenure except last year, and then for the first half we were pretty darned decent.
An area where EJ may be defensively improved upon is recognition of rotations, and on-the-fly adjustments to mismatches. Remains to be seen if in the interim ETap will be able to improve on the read/recognition game. Never know despite his inexperience, some people learn by viewing from the sidelines and not being under the pressure develop a good sense of how to fix it. Analysts who return to coaching occasionally coach better. But overall it sounds like ETap is asking only for the same things EJ did. A defensive emphasis in that case just means you're asking players to rededicate themselves and play harder on the defensive end. Ultimately I don't see how a coaching change makes the difference there. When quite frankly I don't see where our players can make up the difference of a sudden defensive improvement just by playing harder. We're looking at a shortfall in aptitude and capacity more than effort.
Jamison plays as hard as you'll see on this team, he's even been trying to the best of his ability on defense. But that 'defend the rim' emphasis is the same as EJ, and Jamison isn't going to suddenly add 20 pounds of athletic muscle. Daniels can't 'play harder' into being three years younger and more healthy. Stevenson won't play harder into a healthy leg. It's doubtful Etan will play harder into sudden and surprising eptitude. Andray Blatche could play harder, if he's not on the bench with foul trouble.
And the fact is, despite haplessness this team was playing hard. They weren't dispirited and mopey, bitching in the press, pointing fingers of blame. They didn't give up midgame or go on personal crusades to prove a point. It's an open question whether or not that changes. The probability is if you lose a well-loved coach players are gonna look around for someone who's at fault. And good chemistry can turn on a dime.
The probability is this team struggles worse now with a re-adjustment period. Interim coaches in a mid-year switch rarely see success. Which means the gleeful gravedancing on boards here, slows to a bit of awkward shuffling in the dust, then the pessimites go back to what they do best, identifying the suck of everything, griping, pointing fingers.
Meanwhile, you see how well-loved Eddie was in the media. Local, national, TNT (Kenny Smith loves EJ on national broadcast). The Wiz once again will be the punchline for a while. If we continue to lose, the Nelon Muntz analysts will take the easy route of shouting HAH-Ha and pointing fingers. "See, maybe it wasn't a coaching problem, ya idjits' will be a common refrain. No big deal except for a few decades of ineptitude behind us, which means players and agents will hear the echoing refrain (once again) that the Wiz are a poorly run franchise, etc. We get to hear Eddie Jordan eulogized and martyred again and again. (With a small compensation that ESPN will probably drop us like a a spoonful of egg salad with a roach on it). Still, a nice present for you all: How much fun will it be to hear the rueful hymn of 'Eddie Jordan's Unfair Treatment', and joyous chorus of '30 Years of Suck Again' broadcast from shore to shore on Christmas day.
No big deal in the interim. The best smartest long term plan would be to lose, lose with dedication to ensure a high draft pick, then add in Haywood and Gil and see what the future looks like. Blow it up offseason as needed, but more likely simply add a Tom Tippytoe, if he'll take the job, then let him re-mix the team, suggest midterm swaps (in all probability making the decision between Caron and Jamison).
Slow, patient careful application of the losing plan is the most sensible stratagem. Problem is our beloved owner doesn't have a strong tolerance for ridicule. Nor time; nor patience. He let go a popular coach that he hired and loved; let him go because of a laughingstock loss in front of the NY media. Thing is he expects the team to suddenly improve-- y'all know how Abe thinks. If he had patience and foresight and thickskin we'd have been the NBA champion Detroit Pistons. Darvin Ham and all. Ernie flicked the on switch of the circuit breaker under his own electric chair.
I'm a wizards fan. You know I hope we walk the tightrope. Late season win streak buying a little time. Ernie moving swift in the offseason able to hire a Coach who likes the raw ingredients. Ernie being allowed to select the draft pick with Coaching input. But y'all know better than most the track record of the franchise and whether our ass has been on straight. Just saying, the mission accomplished banner should probably be quietly removed, stowed with the ballast and given burial at sea, before the Gawds of basketball take note of our hubris. You know how this karma thing's a motherf*^&@r and thirty years of wasteland ain't that far distant in the rearview mirror.
Me I'll just say Thank You Eddie Jordan. Sorry it didn't work out for the long haul, but you brought exciting offensive pyrotechnics for a few years when we were healthy and helped some young players mature and display their best skills. We got a good collections of guys with positive attitudes, and kept a level head in some rough times and I'll credit you for contributing to a positive atmosphere. I'm sure you'll do well whatever comes next for you, and hope you remember fondly the most diehard of WizFans who at worst care too much, trying to make up for others apathy.
Appreciation and respect. Your boy,