Wizards Owner Talks Draft, Wittman, Offseason

The Wizards haven't earned a playoff spot since the 2007/08 season, meaning their appearances at the draft lottery have been frequent in recent years. Owner Ted Leonsis tells Michael Lee of the Washington Post that he hopes this is the last time he'll have to attend the lottery, since "it's not a lot of fun" to keep sweating out the outcome of the ping pong balls. Leonsis also spoke at length about the direction of the franchise, addressing the third overall pick, the team's needs, and the head coach. Here are a few highlights….

On the third overall pick:

"We won’t be trading the third pick in the draft…. I don’t think we know who we’ll take with that pick. I think the workouts are really, really important and doing all of the interviews. And I want to spend a lot of time, making sure that the young men that we bring in fit culturally. We now have a really, really serious team. A team that wants to get better, wants to work really hard and that chemistry and that basketball IQ and that character level is really important to us as a team."

On coach Randy Wittman's future in Washington:

"Randy is under contract. And right now, he’s our coach. And I was very impressed with the job that Randy did. But more importantly, I was impressed during the exit interviews. To a man, the players all felt that the way that we played after the trade wasn’t fool’s gold. It wasn’t the end of the season and other teams weren’t trying. That this was a serious team. A team that was playing for one another…. The players really liked the coach and the staff. That speaks volumes on what decision we’ll have to make."

On what needs to be added to the Wizards' roster:

"We need more vets. We saw how the whole atmospherics of the locker room and the team changed when we brought in Nene. He’s a really, really solid player and I like that we are building a culture, where the team is first…. We’re going to continue to invest, continue to make big investments in player development. We know the D-League is very important. We know using stats and new technology will be very important for us. But I think we’ve now had our fill of young players."

On the upcoming offseason as a whole:

"[It's] going to be a busy offseason, certainly different from last offseason. Last offseason was very frustrating. We were in a lockout. We weren’t even able to talk to the players. This offseason, we’ve been able to program every single day for every young player. What they should be doing with strength and conditioning, with shooting coaches, where they should be in the summer league. We’re visiting them back in, so player development is really, really important. Free agency will be an exciting for us, too."


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