Ernie Grunfeld gave Jarell Eddie quite the Christmas present, didn't he? Just two days before Yuletide, the Wizards GM offered the 24 year old shooting guard a 10 day contract based on a brief stint in the D-League where he averaged 18 points and four three-pointers a game on 53/52/94 shooting splits. Eddie returned the favor just two days later in a game against the Brooklyn Nets. With Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, and Alan Anderson out due to injury, Jarell found himself part of an 8-man rotation in just his second NBA game.
Y'all probably already know how the story ends. Hitting four consecutive three-pointers, Eddie sparked the fourth quarter run that won the Wizards the game, ending the night with 12 points, four rebounds, and —while not yet official— a guaranteed roster spot.
It was a hell of a debut, but save for some HOF-level towel-waving, that was pretty much the last we saw of Eddie all season. With Beal and Anderson eventually returning to health, meaningful minutes were in short supply, leaving him to spend the rest of his season collecting DNP-CDs and Twitter impostors.
The most telling number of Eddie's first season? One Trillion. Eddie recorded four "Trillions" in 2016, three of which coming on consecutive nights against the Jazz, Pistons and Heat. (The Wizards were 2-1 in that stretch).
With how little Eddie played last season, did he show enough to guarantee a spot on next year's squad?
No. Not really.
Eddie shot 30 percent from the field, 32 percent from three and registered a true shooting percentage of just 46 percent. Those aren't very good numbers for someone who entered the league as a sharpshooter. But maybe those numbers don't paint the whole picture.
Here's what we do know: It would cost the Wizards $980,431 to guarantee his contract for next season. That 980K gets the team a player with good size and a lightning-quick release who, if he continues to develop, could provide the team with the type of bench scoring they haven't had since Roger Mason wore blue and gold. Eddie will be just 25 at the beginning of next season, and at various points in his brief career he was also (quite briefly) coveted by the Spurs, Warriors and Hawks, and when it comes to evaluating players who've played less than 100 total career minutes, that's gotta count for something. He also has his own line of t-shirts and hoodies.
Here's what we don't know: Were Eddie's poor shooting numbers a reflection of his skill level or the result of playing with DeJuan Blair, JJ Hickson, and an 20 year-old Kelly Oubre? Eddie was a lights-out, high-volume shooter in the D-League, but struggled at the NBA level. And when his shot wasn't falling (which was quite often), Eddie provided little in the way of defending, passing or rebounding. Maybe NBA defenses proved to be too much for Eddie, but at the same time, the lineup he shared the most court time with (Eddie/Temple/Oubre/Anderson/Hickson) registered a net plus/minus of -35.8. Yikes.
On a team with a new coach, new roster, and lofty expectations, does it make sense to bring Jarell Eddie back into the fold? Personally, I think so. With the salary cap exploding next year, the Wizards will be hard pressed to find anyone making less than a million dollars to fill out the end of their roster, let alone one with Eddie's NBA-ready skillset. And with the team having nine roster spots to fill this summer, the money saved by retaining Eddie should offer much-needed flexibility when assembling next year's team.