Stories of unhappiness continue to emerge from Washington, and coach Randy Wittman seems most likely to pay the price. It has been a disappointing season for the Wizards, who entered tonight 10th in the Eastern Conference, three games out of a playoff spot at 36-39. With seven games remaining, they would need to leapfrog both the Pacers and Bulls just to earn a place in the postseason.
Much more was expected from a team that went 46-36 a year ago and won a playoff series. Injuries have been part of the problem, but the real reasons for the Wizards’ poor showing go much deeper, as J. Michel of CSN Mid-Atlantic details. The team is making too many poor decisions on the court, Michael writes, and there has been constant feuding between veterans and younger players. There are also charges that the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal can be too stubborn and difficult to approach during games.
Another problem Michael addresses is communication, especially on defense where he says the team does a poor job of switching on screens. Much of the blame for that falls on Wittman, who Michael says is slow to make in-game adjustments and who has seen his authority questioned publicly several times this season.
Wittman had a dispute with Marcin Gortat in November when he criticized the center for finishing a game with just one rebound. Gortat went months without talking to his coach about the incident, and hard feelings persist between them. Michael claims they have had a “checkered” relationship since Gortat first arrived in Washington in 2013.
Wittman guided poor teams in Cleveland and Minnesota before being promoted to head coach of the Wizards midway through the 2011/12 season. His overall record in Washington is 173-197, and Washington’s back-to-back playoff appearances are the only two winning seasons of his career. He has one year remaining on his contract, but next season only carries a partial guarantee.
That brings us to the topic for tonight. Should the Wizards fire Wittman once the season is over, and who should replace him if they do? There are plenty of proven coaches on the market right now. David Blatt, Tom Thibodeau, Kevin McHale and Monty Williams all guided teams into the playoffs last season. If the Wizards believe they have a real shot at Kevin Durant in free agency, maybe former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks should get some consideration. Or should the Wizards concentrate on the college ranks and try to duplicate the success that Billy Donovan has brought to the Thunder?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.