Finally at the end of the ’07-08 evaluation line with Coach Eddie Jordan. My thoughts are below, head over to Bullets Forever to see what Prada and Jake have to say.
2007-2008 Washington Wizards Player Evaluations
Etan Thomas | Oleksiy Pecherov | Dominic McGuire | Nick Young | Andray Blatche | Roger Mason|
Darius Songaila | Antonio Daniels | DeShawn Stevenson | Brendan Haywood | Gilbert Arenas | Antawn Jamison | Caron Butler
It’s not exactly easy to do an in-depth evaluation of a coach. We don’t have the benefit of individual stats (I suppose team stats can suffice), we aren’t privy to in game strategy which will affect the ultimate outcome, and we are unable to witness a coach in action when a bulk of his work is done, behind the scenes. Nonetheless, here goes…..
The issues with Eddie Jordan seem to fall into a triumvirate of beef: defensive inefficiencies, substitution patterns, and him being a “players coach.”
Let’s go ahead and throw out this “players coach” critique. This is the NBA, we know that players run the show. They should at least be mature enough to police themselves (I know, that’s asking a ton). Very few coaches get away with being a hard ass — Jerry Sloan and Scott Skiles come to mind, perhaps Rick Carlisle…Greg Popavich if you’re reaching. Jordan might as well be a man of the players because it doesn’t really behoove him to act otherwise. That’s not to say that he can’t show some tough love at times, or even go the ‘Phil Jackson Well-Placed Media Sarcastic Remark’ route when need be.
Yes, Eddie Jordan needs to play his starters less in hopes of maintaining prolonged health. Last year’s bench was the deepest of his tenure with the Wiz. However, the injury to Arenas caused Jordan to prematurely dip into the reserves. On top of that, has the bench exactly set themselves up to be trustworthy and dependable? I’m iffy on that subject. In an ideal world, the coaching staff has been working hard on developing the young players in order to make it easier on themselves. That being said, we need to see a high level of commitment from the “future big three” to complete the process.
Defense: Whether you think it actually improved this past season, or that it didn’t improve at all, or that there were some signs of improvement…..we can all conclude that the Wizards are still climbing up the mountain in terms of stopping opponents from scoring. The philosophy brought on board by Randy Ayers seems to be a step in the right direction. Now, we need the players to continue to buy into the program, and the coaches to continue to analyze the system. As a fan, I can’t exactly tell you what this project entails, but I do know that it starts are the top…..are you listening Gilbert?
Ultimately, my judgment of a coach comes down to one thing: Wins. Eddie Jordan has brought a winning attitude back to the franchise. He’s made the team relevant resulting from this current four year playoff run. Many have called for Jordan to be on the cutting block in recent times. I am far from being among this group, and have actually been one of Jordan’s staunch defenders. However, I will admit that professional teams do get to the point, no matter how great a coach is, that if they’re not advancing (past the second round of the playoffs for example) then it may be time to part ways.
But c’mon, let’s give Jordan a fair shake….yep, I’m playing the injury/health card. Plus, give the guy credit, you don’t think he knows that his coaching, along with the team, needs to improve? I mean, he certainly isn’t going to stay the course, at least I hope he’s not.
Sure there are issues, but name me a team that doesn’t have issues. Jordan seems to resonate with the players, and has made basketball in Washington exciting again. Might as well hop on board, enjoy the ride, and hope for the best…..at least for the next two years.