While watching the Washington Wizards stumble to an 0-5 start, team president Ernie Grunfeld said he still had faith that the Wizards could still turn things around. The Wizards limped on going 1-4 and nothing happened, and then after Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the short-handed Knicks, Grunfeld obviously ran out of patience.
Eddie Jordan got his walking papers this morning, and director of player development Ed Tapscott, who is running his first practice right now, will be introduced as the intirim coach at 2 p.m. today.
I can’t say the move is a total surprise, but I don’t believe the Wizards’ woes are Eddie’s fault. A year after the finest coaching job of his career, he again got delt a bad hand. Injured Gilbert Arenas, injured Brendan Haywood, and a bunch of young, not-ready-for-prime-time players, a few aging players and a couple of banged up pieces surrounding All-Stars Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.
It’s a bad mix. Teams know all they have to do is double Butler and Jamison down the stretch and that the Wizards have no one else capable of stepping up. Jordan still had the two All-Stars in his corner and just on Saturday talked about how supportive all his players have been during this start.
But, the support from upstairs ran out. And in the NBA, you can’t fire the players, so what do you do? Fire the coach. I can’t see how much Tapscott will change things. He’s a good guy, but has no NBA coaching experience. He was head coach of at American University from 1982 to 1990 and finished won 119 wins, more wins than any coach in AU’s history. He and Grunfeld worked together in New York, and then Tapscott served as interim president and general manager of the Knicks during the 1990s.
Ed served as president of the Charlotte Bobcats from 2003-2006 before being fired when Michael Jordan took over. He joined the Wizards front office in 2007 and the last two years has served as mentor/coach to Nick Young and Dominic McGuire.
We’re waiting for practice to conclude so hopefully we can get some player reaction, and then we’ll get Ernie and Ed.
Stay tuned …