The days continue to change yet the obligatory failure to surpass the .500 mark still looms for the Washington Wizards. The inexplicable nature of their subpar play in games to achieve a winning record leaves fans in a state of confusion. This myriad of questions has to be answered at some point. John Wall is playing at an all-star level and truly taking the leap from solid NBA player to superstar. Trevor Ariza is having the best season of his career statistically. Bradley Beal for the most part is avoiding a sophomore slump and both Nene and Marcin Gortat have performed as expected. With this talented core group and decent start Wizards fans are beginning to no longer settle for this mediocrity, they want more. If the Wizards seem to be playing well and have pretty much avoided the injury bug, what unseen force is prohibiting the next step on the trek to be taken?
Two years ago today Randy Wittman took over as the interim coach of the Washington Wizards after long trodden then head coach Flip Saunders was fired after an abysmal 2-14 start. Immediately out of the gates Wittman stressed defense as the Wizards were near the bottom of the league in giving up points. A fresh culture was much needed and Wittman at the time seemed like the man who could provide just that. Wittman was able to lead the Wizards to an 18-31 record and do enough to upgrade his role from interim head coach to full-time coach.
In spite of the promising end to the strike shortened 2011-2012 season, the Wizards displayed more of the same effort in the 2012-2013 season finishing with yet another deplorable losing record. One bright spot that provided many an optimistic Wizards fans a glimmer of hope for the future was the fact that they were 5th in the league in opponent’s points per game. This served as a supplement the fact that John Wall played at the same level he’s playing at this season after he came back from injury. Wall and Beal lit up opponents and gave Wizards fans something to smile about and excited them of the possibility of the dynamic backcourt playing a full season.
This brings us to this season which the Wizards entered with serious playoff aspirations and the roster to achieve their goals. The Wiz Kids are currently sitting at 20-21 on the season with a shock inducing 9 straight losses when trying to hurdle the .500 mark. This inadequacy is not unfamiliar territory for Wittman as in each of his 8 seasons as a head coach the best one of his teams has finished is eighteen games under five hundred. When there has been such a vast medley of opportunities for a coach at same point results have to be met. For Randy Wittman to retain his position as Wizards coach the first step is for the team to eclipse this barrier. Wizards fans have waited long enough for a team that puts a solid product out on the court every night and if Wittman is unable to be the man to do that he has no future as the head coach. The changes in the Wizards as an organization have been pretty evident as the team has remained an above average defensive team. Randy Wittman’s future with the Wizards as well as his chances to be presented with another head coaching gig, depend solely on the team’s performance down the stretch.