Posted November 02, 2013

Randy Wittman questions Wizards’ ‘heart’ and ‘guts’ after loss: ‘We’re not OK’

Ben Golliver, Philadelphia 76ers, Randy Wittman, Washington Wizards

A dismayed Randy Wittman questioned his team’s “heart” and “guts” after the Wizards lost to the Sixers 109-102 in their home opener on Friday.

Pegged by The Point Forward as one of the NBA’s leading “coaches on the hot seat,” Wittman has now watched his Wizards give up 224 points in their two losses. Naturally, his team’s defensive effort was the focus of his extended post-game lament.

“You tell me what you think the problem is, you watched the game,” Wittman said. “Commitment to f—ing playing defense. That’s what it is. That’s what it boils down to.”

Owner Ted Leonsis has set out a “playoffs or bust” edict, and Wittman, who is in the final year of his current contract, wasted no time digging into his guys.

“We’re not OK, we’re 0-2,” Wittman said. “We’re not OK. We lose games by the way we come out with our intensity. You can’t play this game for 24 minutes. If it was easy to win in this league, everybody would. I’ve got to find out if we’ve got the heart to do what it takes to win. Right now, we’re not showing it. That’s what I’ve got to figure out and try to get from them. We take the easy way out right now.”

Washington allowed 65 second-half points, including 35 in the fourth quarter, and six Philadelphia players scored in double-figures. Thaddeus Young led the way with 29 points and Evan Turner added 23 while the Sixers, who entered the season regarded as the league’s worst team, shot 51.1 percent from the field.

“If you want to win defensively, it’s hard, it takes guts,” Wittman continued. “A willingness to grind it out. … We’re not willing to pay that price. We’re not. Until we are, we’re not good enough to outscore a team 118-116. We’re not good enough. … If we’re going to win, I need to find somebody — at least five [players] — that has the guts and courage to go out there and lay it on the line defensively every night.”

(MonumentalNetworks.com)

Randy Wittman during his post-game comments. (MonumentalNetworks.com)

Here’s a transcript of Wittman’s full post-game statement, which wasn’t a tirade so much as it was a morose expulsion of frustration. Video of his extended post-game press conference was posted to MonumentalNetwork.com.

“You tell me what you think the problem is, you watched the game. Commitment to f—ing playing defense. That’s what it is. That’s what it boils down to.

“The thing our guys haven’t learned, and I’ve got to figure out a way. You could see it coming out of the locker room. You’ve got to respect the game, your opponent. We came out obviously in the first half and got after it. Created turnovers, held them to 40 percent shooting, and then the second half there was absolutely none. Our guards were picking up their guards at the free-throw line. We had no pressure on the wings, we created nothing defensively in the second half. We’re just going to come out and play and think we’re going to win the game. This has happened over and over and over again.

“I’ve got to figure it out. That’s obviously the first question. I’ve got to figure out how to get these guys to play the right way for 48 minutes. That’s what it boils down to. There’s some really good things in the first half we did, really good things. Things we’re accustomed to doing defensively, then nothing the second half. You could see it, I could see it as a coach. I said, ‘We’ve got to get these guys going when we start the third quarter.’ Everything you get [from the players] is, ‘We’re OK.’

“We’re not OK. We’re 0-2. We’re not OK. We lose games by the way we come out with our intensity. You can’t play this game for 24 minutes. If it was easy to win in this league, everybody would.

“I’ve got to find out if we’ve got the heart to do what it takes to win. Right now, we’re not showing it. That’s what I’ve got to figure out and try to get from them. We take the easy way out right now.

“We’re up 14 or 15, and now I’m not going to get up and deny the wing, which we wanted to do the whole night, which we did for the most part in the first half. Deflections, steals, run outs. Now I’m going to take it easy — we’re up 14 — I don’t have to exert as much energy now. It always comes back to bite you. It’s been that way with this group of guys for a couple of years.

“You’ve got to believe in it. Do it. They know how to do it. It’s hard, it is hard, trust me. It’s easier to say, ‘We’re going to go out and outscore you 120-118. It’s easy to do that, you can rest on one end.

“If you want to win defensively, it’s hard, it takes guts. A willingness to grind it out. Look at me and say, ‘I need a rest coach.’ We’re not willing to pay that price. We’re not. Until we are, we’re not good enough to outscore a team 118-116. We’re not good enough.

“If we’re going to win, I need to find somebody, at least five [players], that has the guts and courage to go out there and lay it on the line defensively every night. That’s what it is. They had to shoot 65 percent in the second half? 74 points in the paint? They were just doing whatever they wanted.

“I know your other question is going to be ‘why?’ I don’t know that.”

Wittman, 54, is in his eighth year as a head coach and his third with the Wizards. He holds a career record of 147-293 (.334) and the Wizards are 47-86 (.353) since he took over during the 2011-12 season. Washington hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008.

Top video via YouTube user Kyle Weidie

1 comments
DeanHewitt
DeanHewitt

This is Wittman's third season.  If you haven't got them to do defense by now, it isn't going to happen.  Wittman should be gone today.    McMillian would be a better choice.  The young guys just think they have so much talent and nothing can stop them.  They're wrong.