Wall: 'Everybody believes in coach Witt'

Wall: 'Everybody believes in coach Witt'
November 18, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Beal: We have to find a way to finish games

Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman talks with Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal against the Brooklyn Nets in the second quarter at Verizon Center.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

The rumblings already are there, as they always are, after a team with playoff aspirations after years of underachieving begins 2-7.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who is in the final year of his contract, is in the hot seat. Owner Ted Leonsis has declared its playoffs, where the Wizards haven't ventured since 2008, or else. The Wizards play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday at Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET)

"Everybody believes in coach Witt. We understand what he did last year and what he was capable of when everybody was healthy," said point guard John Wall of 29 wins in 2012-2013 for a team that didn't have him, Nene and many others for long stretches. "As players we got to go out there and execute what he's given us as our game plan and what he wants us to be as a team. We haven't been doing that so far. We've only proved it in the two games we've won."

Wall insisted that Leonsis retain Wittman, who took over for the fired Flip Saunders just 17 games into the 2011-12 season. The Wizards were able to lure free agents Al Harrington and Eric Maynor, but the results have been mixed.

Harrington is their most versatile bench reserve with his size and ability to stretch the floor with his three-point range. But Harrington didn't attend practice Monday because he had to meet with his doctor to address his sore right knee. He has missed the last two games because of it. Maynor is healthy but Wittman is not pleased with his defense, so Garrett Temple has jumped him in the rotation. Maynor didn't play in Saturday's 103-96 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Bradley Beal, who is in his second season and has shown signs of frustration with the team's start, put the blame on the players.

"It's really between our ears, being mentally there because coaching strategies are working," Beal said. "We know what we're capable of doing if we play the right way."

When I asked him about Wittman's job security, Beal responded: "That's the only thing I don't like. At the end of the day, we're the ones who are playing. You can't throw all that on coach. ... I really dislike when people do that, just throw all that scrutiny on coach because he doesn't deserve it. He's doing his best job. It's up to us to carry some of that weight and take some of that responsibility as well."

For his part, Wittman isn't concerned about his players losing faith in the coaching staff.

"I'm not going home thinking (that). We don't have to re-invent anything. We don't. We have to do things more consistently," he said. "When we do them consistently, we're pretty good. We're in that spot over and over every game, whether it's on the road or at home. Doesn't matter. That's not a worry of mine."