When the Washington Wizards decided to pick up the third-year option on Coach Eddie Jordan’s current contract, extending him through the 2009-2010 season, I thought, “Well, that’s a little random.”
There have been questions about Jordan’s status from year to year…..whether it be general disapproval from fans, the fact that he wasn’t an ‘Ernie Grunfeld’ selection, or that Jordan’s hand-picked assistants were only renewed on a year-to-year basis.
I’ve been a staunch supporter of Jordan. Sure there are issues, as I outlined in his evaluation. But I factor in his DC resume, and an appreciation that for the last four years, I haven’t had to cross my fingers when ping-pong balls start mixing in late May.
But in terms of the timing, I was perplexed as Prada at Bullets Forever….why now? Perhaps my curiosity was more the result of surprise at the unexpectedness of the re-up. But after further pondering, it was a good move by GM Ernie Grunfeld and Owner Abe Pollin.
With the state of Gilbert Arenas’ knee, the team had to shift focus towards a more pragmatic approach. Sure, fans are ready for the team to advance past the 2nd round of the playoffs….statim. But now, a one-year plan for the desired playoff advancement is more realistically a two-year plan. Would the Wizards have exercised the option on Jordan had Arenas not gone under the knife for a third time? I’m not so sure.
No one is giving up on the upcoming season, evidenced by inking a stop-gap solution in Juan Dixon as an insurance policy for the investments already made towards 2008-09. And expectations surrounding the significant development of Wizards youth, especially Andray Blatche, need not be tempered. The Wizards can accomplish the mission this year, as long as the team is able to tread water before the return of Arenas (assuming he will be healthy….and right now, that’s really hard to do).
As history has shown us, Tuff Juice, Jamison, Antonio Daniels & Co. are capable of hoisting the sails and steering the ship through tumultuous waters. But the weather of an NBA season can be unpredictable. The players resonate with Eddie Jordan as their coach. Knowing that the franchise will be more towards a state of constancy than flux with the same instructor at the chalkboard….at least for the next two years….the Washington Wizards will be better prepared for continued growth as a team.