The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

After Washington playoff run, coach Randy Wittman ready to help Wizards take next step

  • Print

WASHINGTON - Randy Wittman learned long ago to focus on what he can control. That's what he did over the past 2 1/2 years with the Washington Wizards.

Wittman's approach helped turn the Wizards from pushover to playoff winners. Now he'll have a chance to stick around following a 44-38 season, a 15-win improvement from last year, after the Wizards gave him a contract extension.

"I think over the last couple of years what we've begun to establish here, continuity I think is important," Wittman said Wednesday in the hallway near the practice court at the Verizon Center. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity to continue on."

The Wizards reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and won their first post-season series since 2005. They accomplished it in the final year of Wittman's contract and under a preseason mandate to make the playoffs from owner Ted Leonsis.

"I was here when it was not pretty. When you see it change, when you see the things that you've implemented begin to work, you want to continue on," the 54-year-old Wittman said.

Wittman guided the Wizards to a first-round win over the Chicago Bulls before losing in six games to the top-seeded Indiana Pacers in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

"Over the last 2 1/2 years really, Randy has established a great culture, a hard-working culture, a defensive-oriented team," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We've been a top-10 defensive team in the league the last two years. We've made good progress. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're headed in the right direction."

Asked if retaining Wittman was an easy decision," Grunfeld stated," Yes, it was."

Having already coached rebuilding squads with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, Wittman took over as head coach when Flip Saunders was fired in January 2012.

As was the case in those other spots, losses starting piling up in Washington. Wittman has the worst regular-season record of anyone who has coached at least 400 NBA games — 191-329, a .367 winning percentage — since the league started in 1946.

"Job security is fleeting, as we all know in this business," said Wittman, who played in the NBA for nine seasons. "If you worry about it, you're not going to do your job well."

With John Wall sidelined, the Wizards opened the 2012-13 season with a 4-28 record. When their point guard returned, Washington finished 24-25.

With Wall healthy and turning into a first-time All-Star alongside backcourt partner Bradley Beal, Washington ended the 2013-14 season fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Washington has plenty of decisions remaining. Two starters — centre Marcin Gortat and forward Trevor Ariza — are unrestricted free agents. Overall, 10 players are entering some level of free agency or the organization must decide whether to exercise a team option.

Though Wittman and Grunfeld have stated a desire to the keep the core intact, the roster could certainly look different next season. But the man on the sideline will be familiar.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google