Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman doesn’t have a lot of good things going for him, and it looks increasingly likely that he’ll lose his job after this season.
The Wizards are doing slightly better than last season, but have not made the expected improvement and appear to be on track to lose in the first round of the playoffs.
After starting off the season strong, the Wizards dropped to one of the worst teams in the league, losing scores of games as people tried to identify who to blame. The players aren’t blameless but Wittman should take the brunt of the criticism, though he barely does so. Calls to fire the coach have become more and more frequent since the beginning of the year.
Wittman’s latest blunder has made his hot seat even hotter. The Wizards were tied 101-101 against the Pacers on Wednesday night. Indiana was able to score a layup, but Washington got the ball with a couple of seconds left. But video of the end of the game shows that with 1.3 seconds left, with Rasual Butler about the launch a halfcourt three to try to win the game, Wittman had turned his back on the game and was walking off the court.
Twitter users and other fans became incensed by the action, just the latest miscue by Wittman. “He needs to keep walking to the unemployment line. Awful, horrible coach,” said one.
Wizards star guard John Wall was asked on Thursday morning why Wittman walked away before the game ended.
“I have no idea,” Wall said. “Probably frustrated that we didn’t execute the defensive game plan, and he probably didn’t want to see the last play. Because as a coach, or as any players on that court, you’d rather a guy beat you with a jump shot or at the free-throw line than giving up an easy layup like we did.”
As he has the whole season, Wall defended his coach, saying the Wizards didn’t hold a 10-point lead in the final quarter because they didn’t execute their defensive game plan.
That’s the problem, though. Wittman’s calling card is his defense, which Washington has continued to struggle with since that first good stretch this season. If he can’t get his players to execute defensively, it’s unclear what he’s still doing as the coach, although Wall’s support has undoubtedly helped him keep his job. People compare the situation to Mark Jackson and the Warriors, but it’s worse than that because Wittman has a much worse reputation than Jackson, having only one winning season in five as a head coach.