Randy Wittman pulls no punches. There's no filter with the new Wizards coach, and he will tell you exactly what's on his mind. So far, the players have responded well to Wittman's approach, with accountability being the No. 1 issue Wittman has emphasized for the 4-18 Wizards.
"I think players are playing harder for some reason, and that's the main difference, and I think it's very noticeable," Wizards forward Trevor Booker said about the teams effort under Wittman, as contrasted with recently fired coach Flip Saunders. "Practice and in games, I think players are more focused.
When Wittman took the job, he made it clear that getting the young Wizards to understand what it took to compete in every game at the NBA level was a top priority.
"All we do each day is hold and keep each other accountable and they have been great," Wittman said. "When we slip from that, my job is to bring that back in and let them know that they are slipping a little bit in this area and they have responded great."
In just his second game as head coach, Wittman made a change in the starting lineup, putting Andray Blatche on the bench and promoting rookie Jan Vesely. Wittman had promised to reward players for their work and he did just that.
"If they are not playing the right way, why are you going to play them? You have to understand the right way to play," Wittman said. We have to have guys that when they are on the floor, they are on the floor because they are playing the right way and they are trying to do things the right way -- and thats with a lot of heart and effort.
Wittman and the Wizards visit Toronto (7-16) Friday night.