Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wizards out, but not down

I wanted to say something really quickly about the end of the Washington Wizards' season after losing Game 6 at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated Washington from the playoffs for the third consecutive year. While it obviously hurt to fall short of the second round, especially to be knocked out by LeBron and Cleveland yet again, this is not the end of the world for this team. 

In my opinion, this series was lost in Game 4, a heart-wrenching 100-97 home loss which saw D.C. native Delonte West sink the game-winning shot in the final seconds. The Wizards valiantly fought back to force a sixth game, but there was no way back in a series this evenly matched. We saw the same thing happen to Phoenix, who was dispatched after only five games, as well as Dallas who lost in five to the New Orleans Hornets. These were good teams that might have fared better with slightly different luck (say, for instance, the Suns had stolen Game 1 in San Antonio, you would have to like their chances to win the series after that).

I do not think Wizards fans should hang their heads after this playoff loss. The pieces are in place to set them up well for the future, whether Gil comes back or not. That being said, I would be concerned if the team fails to improve next season. After so many years of missing the playoffs entirely, making them four straight seasons seems like an accomplishment. Normally, I'm not of the mind that you should fire a coach for not getting to the Finals or the semis if the team is consistently a contender, but in this case I think we'll need to raise our ambition. Eddie Jordan has done well enough for now, but only enough to get by. He's not the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference for nothing, but if he wants to stay that way he needs to take this team to a higher level.


  1. I agree with you about Eddie Jordan--the team needs to reach a higher level. But, I just don't see the pieces (even in the East) to make the kind of jump they need to make. Even if they resign Gil, they are essentially a guard-oriented team that is not that solid defensively. The Cavs won Game 6 because they got the Wiz out of their rhythm offensively. The Wiz really have no frontcourt to speak of, and that kills them (rebounding lost Game 4, and Z was good throughout the series). I just don't think the team has the personnel to get much further than than the 1st round, no matter who is coaching them.

  2. i wasn't trying to say we have the personnel right now to win the East, but i do think we are good enough to at least win one round. we need one or two major additions in order to truly contend for the title and you're right that just keeping Gil doesn't necessarily change that. but i think if we fail to get out of the first round again next year eddie has to be let go.

  3. I just don't see them ever finishing above 5th in the East in the regular season with the personnel they have, which means they have to play one of the top 4 teams in a 1st round series, which means they probably lose again. I know last year they were near the top of the East until Gil went down, but the East is a lot stronger now than it was. They need some interior depth and a commitment to D before they advance.

  4. What bothers me about Eddie as a coach is that I havn't seen an evolution with him the way you see it with other good coaches. For example, look at what Mo Cheeks did for the 76ers, completely changing their style mid-season when it was clear it wasn't working. With Eddie Jordan there's no question he is a good offensive coach, and he has a high bball IQ. but his lack of discipline over how we run our offense, and his lack of understanding defensive match ups has shown no signs of improving during his time here.

    We need to strengthen the squad no question, but also keep in mind that two "project type" players: Blatche and Mcguire will have a full season under their belts, and I believe they both still have tremendous upside if they continue to work on their game during the off-season.

    That being said, the debate of the off season is Gil or no gil, and I don't have an answer on that one. We'll have to pick up that discussion when more information on his plans comes available.