Wizards coach Randy Wittman knows he’s trying to coach with one hand tied behind his back.
He knows he’s been without John Wall all season and hasn’t been able to play Nene in back-to-back games. He knows he’s also coaching a team without A.J. Price, Trevor Booker and Trevor Ariza.
But that doesn’t mean he needs to let the rest of his players off the hook. After seeing his team get blitzed by 32 points in Detroit on Friday night, dropping the Wizards’ record to 3-21, Wittman challenged his players to start playing like professionals before Saturday night’s rematch against the Pistons.
“That was embarrassing, point blank,” Wittman said before Saturday night’s game at VerizonCenter. “And we haven’t had a lot of those. That’s what I told them.”
Wittman stated the obvious, saying the Wizards don’t have a go-to guy that can carry his team. But it doesn’t mean his players have the right to mail it in.
“No matter what system it is, if you don’t go out there and make hard cuts, and pass the ball and screen, that system is not going to work,” Wittman said. “That’s what happened [Friday night]. We went through the motions.”
Wittman said his players keep telling him they want to run, but he hasn’t seen those words reflected in the way they play on the court.
“Coach, let us run, let us run. Let us get up and down the floor,” Wittman said his players have asked him. “That’s what I want to do. That’s exactly how I want to play. But you gotta run. You can say let’s run, but if you walk up and down the floor you’re not going to get a fast break point. And we’re walking up and down the floor. If you want to run, get out and run.”
Asked about Pistons center Andre Drummond, who recorded 11 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks Friday night, Wittman said he he’s got “enough on my plate here.”
Nene [foot] and Bradley Beal [back] returned to the lineup Saturday night, with Nene getting his first start of the season. Wittman said he hopes their return will infuse some energy into his team.
“It’s got to start registering,” Wittman said, “that we need all guys on board playing the right way. ... We're better than this.”
Wall on the mend: Wittman said Wall has begun running up and down the court with trainers and is “doing fine,” but has not yet participated in a full practice.