Grunfeld was vague but indicated he decided some time yesterday that the Wizards needed a change because “1-10 isn’t acceptable” and everyone in Wizards management is “concerned about the putting the best possible product on the floor, and I felt like we were going in the wrong direction, that things were getting a bit stale.”
He came to Verizon Center this morning and some time around 8 a.m. — after Eddie and his wife had just finished handing out turkeys as part of the Wizards’ holiday community outreach — Grunfeld informed Jordan of his decision.
Grunfeld pointed to the team’s defensive struggles — they rank among worst in the league in points allowed and field goal percentage allowed — as a big reason for the need for change. He said he understands the team’s injury situation, but pointed out that the team had a rash of injuries last season, but still managed to compete. Ernie said he isn’t blaming Eddie for the team’s 1-10 start, however.
“We’re all responsible. The players, myself, the coaches. But it’s my responsibility to control what I can control. Were there trade possibilities out there? Perhapse, but I think we have players that can play together and we need to get more out of them. And 1-10 is not acceptable.”
Tapscott came to Verizon Center this morning preparing to break down tape and go about his regular assistant duties, and one of Grunfeld’s assistants came in and told him Ernie wanted to see him. Grunfeld hired Tapscott as a member of his front office in New York back in 1991, and felt confident in Tapscott’s skills as a communicator and motivator as well as his basketball knowledge.
Grunfeld told Tapscott of the firing and of his desire that “Tap” replace Jordan, and told him “I think it’d be foolish to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Tapscott told Grunfeld “If that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do it to the best of my abilities,” and after a “fuzzy period” he quickly had to scramble to come up with a plan for practice.
Tapscott pointed to defense, more physical play and improved intensity as things he wants to improve right away. He has a good deal of familiarity with these guys, and plans on having one-on-one meetings with every player in the next few days.
That’s the quick recap. Keep checking back for more.