The NBA offseason has officially begun for the Washington Wizards, who were bounced out of the second round by the number one seeded Indiana Pacers. Though their future is bright with John Wall and Bradley Beal at the helm, the Wizards will have to make some key decisions this offseason, including the fate of head coach Randy Wittman.
Wittman has gotten criticized for his stubborn style and reliance on inefficient offense, but the team has bought into his defensive philosophies and have been top-10 on that side of the floor ever since Wittman took over for Flip Saunders on an interim basis. Wittman completed his final guaranteed season under contract with Washington and it was deemed a success as he led the team to it’s best season since 1979.
Washington’s strong postseason run may have saved Randy Wittman his job, since all signs are pointing towards him being back next season–according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
There were undeniable rumbles going into the playoffs that a first-round exit, even against the higher-seeded gritmeisters from Chicago, would cost Wittman his post. Talk of a run at the veteran likes of George Karl or Alvin Gentry has been circulating in coaching circles for far longer.
Yet there were strong signals Thursday night that Wittman will be back next season alongside longtime Wizards front-office chief Ernie Grunfeld.
As Stein pointed out, Wittman will likely be back as Washington’s head coach next season, but I found it really interesting that he threw out the names ‘George Karl and Alvin Gentry’ as potential coaches that could replace Wittman. With that said, I’m not so sure any coach would have done a better job than Wittman in the postseason, who led the Wizards to the second round–something none of us expected prior to the beginning of the season.
The players, including Andre Miller who said he was never more prepared for the playoffs than he was under Wittman although he was coached by Karl, have endorsed Wittman and as long as that’s the case I think he’ll remain head coach.
Some of the criticism Wittman gets are deserving, but there’s no denying that he’s helped the team grow throughout the course of the season.
Wittman will likely be back as head coach of the Washington Wizards, but the contract details is something we’ll just have to speculate. Toronto Raptors head coach, Dwane Casey, got a three year contract extension following his postseason run. I’d expect Wittman to get a similar deal.