Randy Wittman says he didnt come to Washington to be the head coach. Whether he likes it or not or is ready or not, Wittman is in charge after Flip Saunders was fired on Tuesday. Wittmans first test will be tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats at Verizon Center.
I came here to help him (Saunders), Wittman said. As I have met with a couple of players, I told them I would have walked with him if I didnt believe this team can be better than what we are. This team does have a lot of positive and we can compete at a higher level more often.
The biggest challenge for the Wizards is to be more consistent. Before he was fired Saunders lamented that as some players would step up their production, others would take a step back. There have been wild swings in numbers. On Monday JaVale McGee only had 2 points and 2 rebounds a little more than a week after he racked up 23 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots against the 76ers.
McGees change in output over two games against the 76ers is just one example of inconsistency by Wizards players. It is understood that all players will have below average games, but the Wizards have stumbled to a 2-15 record because too many players have had those below average games in the same game.
The most important part is that we have to give a good consistent effort on a nightly basis, said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. I think we have shown some flashes and we shown some real good moments in certain games, but we have to do it over a longer period of time.
Saunders firing happened as it appeared the Wizards had started to be more competitive. It was hoped last weeks 105-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder would serve as a road map for the Wizards to find their way. A four-point loss in the following game against the Nuggets when the Wizards committed only 11 turnovers offered hope the team was headed in the right direction.
I am going to do my best job to get these young guys to understand how they have to play at a high NBA level, Wittman said. Thats what it is about right now. I dont think we totally understand how you have to play as a young player to be competitive night in and night out.
It has been well documented that the Wizards are a young team with eight players in their first or second years in the NBA. John Wall heads that freshman and sophomore class and that adds to the focus on him as the Wizards try to become more efficient on offense.
John has to now take what he has and not just think it is given to him, Wittman noted. He is a talented player that I think I need to coach and he has to be willing to be coached. If he does that, thats where good players become great players.
On paper the match up against the Bobcats looks promising for the Wizards. The Bobcats have lost six in a row on the road and have averaged just 85 points. Point guard D.J. Augustin is out with a toe injury. Its up to the Wizards now.