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Thanksgiving Massacres Continue: Jordan Fired

Eddie Jordan signs his contract in June of 2003. (By Kevin Clark - TWP)

Four quick observations on the morning that Eddie Jordan was fired.

1) You really don't want to be a struggling pro coach in D.C. come Thanksgiving week. Last year, Glen Hanlon got the boot on Thanksgiving Day, with the predictable observations that Canadians don't really care about our turkey and stuffing. This year, Jordan gets shown the door three days before Thanksgiving, clearing his schedule to watch possibly the worst NFL mismatch in Thanksgiving history. The Lions, at 0-11, are only one a game worse than the 1-10 Wizards, who play Orlando on Thanksgiving night.

Anyhow, if I'm Jim Zorn, I'm making sure I win the Sunday before Thanksgiving for as long as I'm in D.C.

2) Jordan was a prince to me, especially when I was doing nothing but trying to make his players say funny things for a year. The highlight probably came during the Cavs series last year. Down 2-0, many coaches would have turned into high school gym teachers with the media. Jordan just got nicer, telling us he wanted to have a blog, making Sergeant Schultz references, and promising to become "The Enforcer," only in a "Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King kind of" way.

Not every coach is like that. I appreciated it.

3) He was also perhaps the second-most successful D.C.-area coach in the decade I've lived in this market. Joe Gibbs had four seasons: he missed the playoffs twice, went to the round of 12 once and went to the round of 8 once. Over that same span, Jordan went to the round of 16 three times and the round of 8 once. (The most successful? Bruce Arena, of course.)

Gilbert Arenas will, for all time, be credited with the Wizards' resurrection from minor-league status in this town to, at least for a time, bright-lights headliners, but give Eddie some credit too, especially in a town that's seen Gar Heard and Steve Spurrier and Bruce Cassidy and Leonard Hamilton in the past decade.

4) As to whether or not it's too late to matter this season, let's turn again to the Caps. When Hanlon was fired one year and two days ago, the Caps were 6-14-1, 30th in the NHL in points, off to their worst start in 26 years, and essentially eliminated from playoff contention. We know how that turned out. The Wizards have the 29th best record in the NBA, and are off to their worst start in 40-some years, but it's the same basic scenario. Now if someone could just give Ed Tapscott a charming nickname and a too-tight polo shirt, we'd be all set.

(And a fifth observation: Why no Inside the Red Zone with Vinny Cerrato this morning? My Monday feels incomplete.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 24, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Look: Zorn's Shorts Were Kinda Short
Next: When Ed Tapscott Followed Gary Williams


Norv Turner was fired December 4th. That's not too long after Thanksgiving.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | November 24, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

December 4, 2000 is way too long after Thanksgiving 1995.

But what does all of this mean when it comes to those car commercials? American Service Center just out of luck or will they keep running the T-shirt toss commercials?

Posted by: GiannicolusJones | November 24, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow... I think this is kind of unfair, but I get it. Who is this Tapscott character?

Posted by: Mustachio | November 24, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Ed Tapscott used to coach AU basketball, so he knows his business. hahahahaha

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | November 24, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone ever noticed how Eddie's 'success' with the Wizards coincided with the period that was, arguably, the lowest point in the collective competitiveness of the Eastern Conference? And now that the Conference is improving (see Boston's title, free agent acquisitions this summer, etc), Eddie's team is woefully non-competitive? I don't have any data to back that up, but it does seem like a strange coincidence.

Reminds me of a 'slugger' who puts up great numbers when he suddenly gets traded to Colorado.

Posted by: bryc3 | November 24, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Firing Jordan was the wrong move. The moves that the Wiz needed to make should have happened during the off season.

For example, they should NOT have signed Gilbert to a huge deal. The man has spent more time running to the bank than running a fast break. It was a huge, costly mistake made by Ernie and Abe. I like Gil, but you can't pay a player 100 M plus to watch. Heck, I have logged as many minutes this year as Gil and the Wiz haven't paid me a dime. I think I am the better deal.

Scrap this season. Play all the youngsters and look to trade Gil, Jamison, Buttler, Dixon and Daniels. If they can unload the dollar eaters, open some cap space, play a team of young, hungry kids they would be in better shape the next few years.

Abe is a good man, a bad owner. Ernie means well, but seems to have moved into his "I have no idea what I am doing" phase of life.

This team is not going to be any better without Jordan. The season is over and it's time for the Wiz to get on with a real, meaningful rebuiling process.

Mr. Jordan, I am sorry to see you go. You did a good job with that you had to work with. You deserve better than what this orginization was ever going to give you. I wish you nothing but success and luck.

Posted by: tzj20874 | November 24, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

His fate was sealed last week with the the "it's not my fault, Gilbert is injured!" comments. Oh yeah, because Gilbert coaches defense for you Eddie? Gilbert creates your substitution rotation? Because the Wizards have been missing more than just Gilbert these 11 games.

Posted by: ThisGuy | November 24, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What a shame. Jordan was a great guy, and he oversaw our Gilbert-era rise from the cellar to becoming a consistent playoff team.

Posted by: brian71490 | November 24, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

tzj20874 .. extremely well said. Too bad most folks out here do not have your intellect, nor your understanding about which they write.

I will disagree with you on one point alone: Caron Butler. He is worth keeping. You need to have a veteran to help lead, and he is young enough, and inherently hungry enough, to make a winner out of those around him for years to come.

Good luck, Eddie Jordan. You are a class act.

Posted by: justaguy43 | November 24, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Changing coaches is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Les Boulez have been mediocre or worse for 30 years, and it doesn't take much to figure out who has been the constant throughout that time. Don't expect improvement until the team finally has ownership that has the commitment necessary to win - no matter how much investment that takes. To win in the NBA requires first tier players who want to win above all, and first tier coaches who won't put up with anything less than 100%. And this franchise hasn't had either in decades. Sorry Abe, you're a wonderful man, but it's time to pass the torch to someone who really wants to win.

Posted by: BethesdaDad | November 24, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan is paying for Ernie Grunfeld's sins.

Posted by: CHICO13 | November 24, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

There are infinite variations on the theme, "there are no bad orchestras, only bad conductors." Apply it here. There is no doubt that the losses of Haywood and Arenas significantly changed the nature of the season going in. BUT - you pay the head coach to roll with it, and we're TRAILING THE BOBCATS in the standings?

Sorry EJ. Tough hand to be dealt. Be well.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | November 24, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The two mistakes the Wizards made were signing Gil to a max deal and not resigning Roger Mason. Mason could have slipped into the starting SG postion which would allowed Stevenson (not a starter) to provide leadership and scoring off the bench. I blame GM Ernie

Posted by: bindeda | November 24, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

It can't get any worse, but it doesn't seem like it could get any better, either.

Posted by: DD80 | November 24, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Ernie and Abe gave Eddie lemons. Eddie tried to make Apple Pie.

Au revoir, EJ. That was probably the most fun 6 years I've ever spent reading/watching a basketball team on and off the court.

Posted by: The_Brown_Vice_President | November 24, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, Eddie. I am sorry to see you go. The Wizards did not deserve you. Thanks for the great memories and helping the Wizards go to the play-offs. Be blessed!

Posted by: abootstrapper | November 24, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Eddie Jordan for giving us exciting competitive BBall. It was great to see players achieve and over achieve in Eddie's motion system. I understand the need for change. We couldn't fire our defensive assistant we hired last year to shake things up until the end of the year? This timing is terrible. Eddie earned the right to coach till the end of the year. Eddie gets fired and Tapscott gets to coach until the end of the year. ARE U SERIOUS? We have a team that has been ousted in the 1st round for 3 straight years. A winning organization would go out and get help. Even with our "big 3". The celtics had a big 3, they went out and got Posey, Cassell,etc. Why couldn't we try to get Posey, Artest, or some other recent traded/available players. We could use help at the point. We need shooting badly. But we let Roger Mason go to a championship team that's been after him for 2 years. You see the Redskins signed Deangelo Hall when they needed help in their secondary. I applaud the skinz desire to WIN. The wizards have problems with their back court, even if Gil is Healthy and we could definitely use a true Power Forward. Imagine if we could have a true PF, slide Jamison to the 3, Caron at 2, and Gil at the 1. Ernie, get backcourt help and ANY POWER FORWARD..Geez!! Why weren't we trying to get McDyess(sp)?????

Posted by: rodmcd2 | November 24, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Losing to the Knicks who had only 7 players suited up was the coup de gras. These guys are under achieving.

I would have liked to have seen Avery Johnson come in.

Posted by: chillwill1 | November 24, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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