As a head coach Randy Wittman has always subscribed to the theory that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But with the Wizards winless in their first seven games, Wittman decided it was time to make a change tonight against the Utah Jazz, inserting shooting guard Jordan Crawford and forward Jan Vesely into the starting lineup in place of rookie Bradley Beal and Trevor Booker.
“I’m not one to stand and not try to push different buttons, whether that’s a lineup change or how many minutes a guy gets,” Wittman said. “I just felt maybe it was time for a little change.”
Crawford is coming off a team-high 21-point effort in Wednesday’s 107-101 loss in Dallas, a game in which Beal managed just eight points on 3-for-14 shooting. Beal leads the Wizards in scoring with 11.6 points a game; Crawford is next at 11.3 points.
Wittman’s decision to start the 7-foot, 240-pound Vesely over the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Booker has more to do with Wizards’ opponent than anything else. With Al Jefferson [6-foot-10, 289 pounds] and Paul Millsap [6-8, 253] and Derrick Favors [6-10, 248] the Jazz are among the NBA’s most physical teams down low.
“It’s a big challenge,” Wittman said. “They’re one of the biggest teams we’ll face this year -- them and Memphis. Size is obviously their strength.”
Wittman said the key areas of tonight’s game will be under the basket and points in the paint.
“We’re going to have to do a good job of controlling that to have a chance,” Wittman said.
Newly signed point guard Shaun Livingston will be available off the bench. He replaces veteran Jannero Pargo, who was released by the Wizards on Thursday.
“We’ll keep it simple with him,” Wittman said. “He’s only been here two days. We’re going to throw him out there. I think he can help us.”