Wizards relieve Randy Wittman of coaching duties after five seasons

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Randy Wittman
Photo via: Slam

 

Randy Wittman
Photo via: Washington Post

After five seasons as the head coach of the Washington Wizards, Randy Wittman has been relieved of his duties according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Wittman went 178-199 during his stint. 

Many assumed Washington would continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference ranks, but injuries and a hint of team turmoil yanked them back down to the Conference cellar, a place they did not anticipate dwelling after almost making it to the Conference Finals last year. 

Going into this season, the Wizards had made it known that they intended to make a stylistic shift in their offensive attack, one that would include a faster pace and a steady digest of threes. With the adoption of this new scheme came the regression of their defense, which ultimately led to a disappointing season and a surprising playoff absence. 

Reports also indicate that veterans struggled to reach star point guard John Wall and his backcourt mate Bradley Beal, as they were both branded as “hard-headed” by Washington’s elder statesmen. Wall also reportedly issued a tongue-lashing to his team prior to a game against the Detroit Pistons, one that included pretty aggressive verbiage.

Wittman’s inability to rectify these issues may have contributed to his firing, and now the Wizards will comb through the coaching carousel in search of a replacement that can ultimately bring their vision to fruition.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Washington is eyeing Scott Brooks and Jeff Hornacek as two possible successors to Wittman, as they’ll look for their next sideline stalker to institute and optimally run that fast-paced offense while maintaining a rigid defensive approach.

Brooks was critiqued during his stint in Oklahoma City for uninventive end of game offense and his inability to win a championship despite being flanked by the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but he reached the Western Conference Finals several times during his tenure and proved to specialize in player development. 

Hornacek flamed out with Phoenix after a superb first season as their head man, as locker room issues ripped the Suns apart at the seams. Hornacek’s offensive approach would bode well for Washington, but the fact that Markieff Morris, whom the Wizards acquired at the trade deadline from Phoenix after he clashed with Hornacek for a prolonged period of time, does not.

There already seems to be a disconnect in the Wizards locker room, so bringing in a figure that can mend the chemistry as well as Washington’s on-court issues is a must. With all of this being said, there will be many vying for the Wizards head coaching job, as they are a few minor tweaks away from becoming a perennial playoff team once again. 

Washington has a star in Wall, a promising young piece in Beal (although he is oft injured), and some serious cap room going forward. All of these things will entice someone, but the question now is who, and will they be able to propel the Wizards to heights that were previously undiscovered? 

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