How many Wizards fans miss Eddie Jordan? This Wizards reporter is not afraid to say that he does. Besides the fact he was the head coach here in the Nation's Capital the last time the Wizards were relevant, he brought a style of offense and uptempo play that this franchise hadn't seen in a while. 100+ point games were routine (on both ends of the court), 40-45 win campaigns, and a sold out arena that would cheer on the Wizards, not the Knicks or Cavs.
Even if you didn't actually attend the Ivy League university, Eddie Jordan introduced the DC area to Princeton in a way we never thought we would ever see. The guard heavy and fast paced offensive style of basketball entertained NBA fans to lots of high flying ally-oops, wide open jump shots, and allowed for guys to come in and make an impact immediately. It may not have been the ultimate solution towards bringing a championship to D.C., but it was pretty entertaining to see this team be competitive year in and year out.
Jordan came in to the Wizards organization as an NBA assistant as an assistant to the Sacremento Kings in 1992 and stayed in the organization for 5 season. At the end of the 96-97 season, he was promoted to head coach and held the title for the remaining 15 games as well as the entire 97-98 season. He didn't fair too well as the Kings ended up with a 33-64 record that season. The Kings then went in a different direction with the hiring of Rick Adelman. They became a consistent playoff contender but unfortunately were never able to bring a championship to the capital city of California. The future didn't seem too bright for Jordan's head coaching career, but he received a shot in the arm.
Eddie Jordan was not unemployed for long as he made his way across the country to the Garden State and served as the primary assistant head coach for the New Jersey Nets for the next 4 seasons. He was viewed as the pioneer of the uptempo offense that gave the Nets such success which lead them to consecutive division titles and eastern conference championships in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
After the failed Michael Jordan experiment in D.C., the Wizards were looking to start fresh. They told Doug Collins that his services were no longer required as they looked to revitalize their roster. They took a chance on a guy named Gilbert Arenas and hired Eddie Jordan to run the same style of offense that was so effective for him in New Jersey. Simply put, it worked. After a disappointing first season in D.C., the Wizards were able to turn things around as Jordan lead the Wizards to a 45-37 record and fans were electrified as Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes and Antawn Jamison helped propelled the team them to their first playoff appearance since the 96-97 season. They ended being swept in the 2nd round with a heavy dose of D Wade and Shaq. They never had a chance. But for the first time in a long time, Wizards fans had a lot to be optimistic about. The team ended up making the post season the next 3 years and all 3 times were bounced out rudely by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wizards fans made it cool to hate Lebron before anyone. Jordan also coached the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the 06-07 season and was the first coach from the team to do so since Dick Motta in in the 78-79 season.
Jordan was fired in 2008 following a horrific 1-10 start.. A start that today's Wizards fans would've loved to have in comparison in retrospect. He finished his career in Washington with a combined record of 197-224.
As a Washington basketball fan, I haven't had much to cheer for but every awesome memory i've had in my young life as it relates to my home involves the success that the Wizards had as Eddie Jordan as their head coach. He was very instrumental in bringing in Gilbert, Antawn and Caron Butler, and as much as we may hate to admit it, the style of offense he implemented in Washington brought out the best in those guys. They may not have been the most defensively oriented roster, but they sure were fun to watch.