Lack of defensive focus spelled end for latest Jordan era in Washington
Jordan is regarded by most league insiders as a polished offensive coach. As an assistant, he was credited with developing the offense that helped the New Jersey Nets advance to back-to-back NBA Finals, beginning in '02. His schemes were brilliant: using the Princeton offense as a template, Jordan's plays were fluid and spread the metaphorical wealth evenly among stars such as
Jordan had similar success after he took over the Wizards, who, when healthy, were regularly among the NBA's best offensive units. His brilliance, however, did not translate defensively. As disciplined and effective as Washington was on offense, it was equally as disorganized and mediocre on defense. Whether in halfcourt or transition, opponents rarely struggled to score against a Washington team that appeared to have the size and skill to be stingier. In '06-07, Washington surrendered a whopping 104.9 points per game. And that was a playoff team.
Washington's defensive deficiencies were not lost on Wizards management, particularly GM
In fact, when Washington did step up its defense, Jordan didn't receive much credit. Last season the Wizards were downright stingy, giving up 99.2 points per game, the 12th-best average in the league. However, assistant coach
A return to Washington's sieve-like form this season may have been the straw that broke the camel's back. Washington's perimeter defense has been downright pathetic (the gun-from-anywhere Knicks connected on 29 threes in two games against Washington this year). In 11 games this season, 10 of which it lost, Washington gave up 103.5 points on 47.5 percent shooting.
With Jordan gone, it increases the possibility that
Arenas has gone on record as saying a high lottery pick might be "for the better" for the Wizards. In the long run, Washington may benefit from continuing to develop prolific second-year-guard