This is an important year for Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who has been referred to as “old-school” with a defense-first philosophy, but has adjusted his philosophy to fit his roster with the implementation of more speed and more shooting, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes in an in-depth piece. The season is key for Wittman, as Castillo points out, because his contract is only partially guaranteed for next season. Players are in favor of Wittman’s approach to having an offense suit the skills of the players he has, Castillo adds.
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- While the Heat need Hassan Whiteside, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency in July 2016, as a rebounder and shot-blocker, Miami has enough depth to play the hot hand if the center is struggling or seemingly sulking, Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald writes. Such was the case in the Heat’s season opener when head coach Erik Spoelstra elected to go with Udonis Haslem after the Hornets‘ Al Jefferson had his way with Whiteside, Skolnick adds.
- Tim Hardaway Jr., whom the Hawks acquired in June in a draft-night trade with the Knicks, was inactive for the season-opener and since Atlanta gave up its first-round draft pick to obtain Hardaway, it will be a move under scrutiny, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays.
- Speaking of Hardaway, the guard told Brian Lewis of the New York Post that he never received a reason for the trade and was surprised by the move. “No, nothing,” Hardaway said. “Just a call that said … I got a call from my agent first that broke the news to me. I was surprised. I was at Clyde Frazier’s. It was myself, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, and some more of my friends. I was there for draft night, to see who we got — well, when I was part of the team, to see who we had. Then later on I didn’t know what was going to happen. It happened 30 seconds before they made the trade.’’